Scaffolding at a construction site in eastern China collapsed into a deadly heap on Thursday, sending iron pipes, steel bars, and wooden planks tumbling down on about 70 workers in the country's worst work-safety accident in more than two years. At least 67 people were killed by the collapse of the work platform at a power plant cooling tower that was under construction, state media report. Two others were injured and one worker is missing. The cooling tower was being built in the city of Fengcheng in Jiangxi province when the scaffolding tumbled down at about 7:30am, an official with the local Work Safety Administration said by telephone. The cause of the collapse is under investigation.
The reported death toll suggests that nearly all the construction workers at the cooling tower perished, reports the AP. Close to 70 people were working at the site when the scaffolding gave out, according to local media reports. About 500 rescue workers, including paramilitary police officers, were digging through the debris with their hands, according to state broadcaster CCTV. It showed debris strewn across the floor of the cavernous, 545-foot-high concrete cooling tower, in the middle of which stood an unfinished structure. China has suffered several major work-safety accidents in recent years blamed on weak regulatory oversight, systemic corruption, and pressure to boost production amid a slowing economy. (Read more China stories.)