China power-plant accident kills at least 67

Cooling-tower platform’s collapse in Fengcheng, in Jiangxi province, is the latest industrial accident to hit country.

Rescue workers search at the site where a power plant''s cooling tower under construction collapsed in Fengcheng
The enforcement of industrial safety standards is often lax in China [Reuters]

At least 67 people have died after part of a power station being built in China reportedly collapsed, the latest incident in a country where industrial accidents are common.

A cooling-tower platform plunged to the ground in the early hours of Thursday, trapping an unknown number of people beneath it, the semi-official Xinhua news agency reported.

Pictures of the scene in Fengcheng city, in the central province of Jiangxi, showed a grey mass of concrete slabs, steel girders and twisted metal splayed in a heap on the ground inside a large round structure.

Hard-hatted rescue workers in neon jumpsuits carried bodies out from the site on stretchers wrapped in orange sheeting.

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Rescue work was under way, and a total of 32 fire engines and 212 military personnel were deployed to the scene, the Jiangxi provincial fire department said on a verified social media account.

Xinhua earlier said that more than 40 people had been confirmed dead, before correcting its report to 40, adding: “It is likely to rise as an unknown number of people are still trapped”.

Five injured workers were being treated in hospital, it said.

Abolut 68 people were on site when the collapse occurred, according to local state media outlet China Jiangxi Online.

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The construction of two 1,000-megawatt coal-fired power units at the Ganneng Fengcheng power station began last July and was expected to be completed by early 2018, the local Yichun city government said last year.

Industrial accidents are common in China, where the enforcement of safety standards is often lax.

In August, a pipeline explosion at a coal-fired power plant in the neighbouring province of Hubei killed 21.

Earlier this summer, more than 130 people were taken to hospital after chemicals leaked from a plant in eastern China.

In April, a chemical fire burned for 16 hours in the coastal province of Jiangsu after an explosion at a facility storing chemicals and fuel, requiring 400 firefighters to quell the flames.

Source: News Agencies