At least 40 killed in east China scaffolding collapse

At least 40 killed in east China scaffolding collapse

BEIJING - The Associated Press
At least 40 killed in east China scaffolding collapse At least 40 people were killed and many others are believed to be trapped in a scaffolding collapse yesterday morning at a power plant construction site in eastern China, state media reported.

A work platform at the plant’s cooling tower being built in the city of Fengcheng in Jiangxi province came tumbling down at about 7:30 a.m., an official with the local Work Safety Administration said by telephone.

He put the confirmed death toll at 22 but the official Xinhua News Agency and state broadcaster CCTV said that figure had risen to at least 40 by midday.

Xinhua said an unknown number of others were still trapped in the debris. Close to 70 people were working at the site when the scaffolding collapsed, according to local media reports.

About 200 rescue workers, aided by search dogs, were on site digging through the debris with their bare hands, according to state television report that showed iron pipes, steel bars and wooden planks strewn across the floor of the massive concrete cooling tower. 

China has suffered a series of major industrial accidents over recent months blamed on corruption, disregard for safety and pressure to boost production amid a slowing economy.

The head of a logistics company was recently handed a suspended death sentence over a massive explosion at an illegal chemical warehouse in the northern port of Tianjin last year that killed 173 people, most of them firefighters and police officers.

In June 2015, 442 people were killed in the capsize on the Yangtze River of a modified cruise ship blamed on poor decisions made by the captain and crew, while 81 people were killed in December when an enormous, man-made mountain of soil and waste collapsed on nearly three dozen buildings in the southern manufacturing center of Shenzhen.

Construction on the 1,000-megawatt coal-fired unit in Fengcheng began in late