Scores dead in scaffolding collapse at power station in China

The accident is the latest in a string of industrial accidents in the country

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The Independent Online

At least 67 people have been killed in a scaffolding collapse on a building site in China.

The scaffolding was supporting a platform against a power station cooling tower when it gave way and collapsed at about 7am on Thursday.

According to state media, two injured workers were taken to hospital after the accident and a rescue effort was launched to free an unknown number of workers who were trapped in the wreckage.

Footage from the scene showed rescue workers with search dogs searching through debris beneath the large cooling tower in Jiangxi province in east China. 

State media identified the site as being the coal-fired Fengcheng power plant in Yichun City.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has ordered an investigation into the collapse to be carried out, and has demanded that those responsible should be held accountable, the Chinese government said.

Mr Li said the authorities must “strengthen supervision and preventive measures, prevent such a major accident from happening again,” it was reported.

A total of 32 fire engines and over 212 military personnel attended the scene, the Jiangxi provincial fire department said on a verified social media account.

The work at the power station is part of a 7.6bn yuan (£890m) expansion project which aims to construct two 1,000 megawatt coal-fired facilities by 2018. 

The main investor for a previous expansion project at the plant suspended trading in its shares on the Shenzhen stock exchange on Thursday afternoon, stating that “significant events” that could not be disclosed could impact its share price.

The Chinese government has vowed to improve the country’s poor construction safety record which has seen a series of major industrial accidents in recent months.

The scaffolding collapse follows the announcement of a suspended death sentence for the head of an illegal chemical warehouse over a huge explosion at the facility in Tianjin, which killed 173 people. 

Following the explosions, the director of China’s state administration of work safety was removed from his post and was subsequently charged with corruption. 

And in June 2015, 442 people were killed in an accident on a cruise ship on the Yangtze River. The modified cruise ship capsized with investigators blaming poor decisions made by the captain and crew.

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