BEIJING (AP) – The death toll from the collapse of scaffolding at a construction site in eastern China rose to 74, state media said Friday, in the country’s worst work-safety accident in over two years.
Two others were injured after the work platform at a power plant cooling tower that was under construction collapsed Thursday, sending iron pipes, steel bars and wooden planks tumbling down on the workers, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The cooling tower was being built in the city of Fengcheng in Jiangxi province when the scaffolding tumbled down, an official with the local Work Safety Administration who would only give his surname, Yuan, said by telephone.
About 500 rescue workers, including paramilitary police officers, dug through the debris with their hands, according to state broadcaster CCTV. It showed debris strewn across the floor of the cavernous, 165-meter (545-foot) -high concrete cooling tower, in the middle of which stood an unfinished structure.
Chinese President Xi Jinping urged local governments to learn from the accident and hold those responsible accountable. He said that in the wake of recent work accidents, the State Council, China’s Cabinet, should carry out thorough inspections of work sites to reduce risks.