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67 dead in construction site collapse in east China

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FENGCHENG, Jiangxi Province, -- Sixty-seven people have been confirmed dead and three others injured after a construction platform collapsed in east China's Jiangxi Province Thursday, rescuers said.

President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have urged local authorities to spare no efforts in the rescue, treatment and follow-up work.

More than 60 people were working on the platform and another dozen were on the ground waiting to begin their shift at 7 a.m. when the platform of a power plant's cooling tower under construction collapsed in the city of Fengcheng, rescuers said.

More than 300 rescuers, two drones and seven cranes are involved in the search for victims.

The injured are receiving treatment at hospital, and one is in a critical condition.

Wang Yaosheng, who was waiting to begin his shift, narrowly escaped death by running away when he saw the falling platform.

"Several elevators collapsed. All those on the platform fell and were crushed by the steel bars and other materials," he recalled. "I was shocked."

The workers on the ground all managed to escape. Two were slightly injured, including Wang.

The deceased were taken to a funeral home 10 km away from the collapse site.

"We will clean up the bodies once the police have collected DNA," said a worker who did not give his name.

According to the rescuers, most of the victims were from the provinces of Hebei and Hubei.

Construction of the cooling tower is part of an expansion plan of the Fengcheng Power Plant, with an estimated cost of 7.67 billion yuan (1.1 billion U.S. dollars). The plant is owned by Jiangxi Ganneng Co. Ltd., a state-owned power corporation listed in Shenzhen. Trading of its shares was suspended Thursday following the accident.

The tower was being constructed by Hebei Yineng Tower Engineering Co. Ltd. According to Liao Huishou, an engineer from the firm in charge of the project, the designed height of the tower under construction is 156 meters, and over 70 meters have been built since April.

Liao said it is a complicated project because of its double-curve design. The construction platform is adjusted based on the height of the tower. The project is planned to last 26 months.

"Time was very pressing and the construction was very difficult," said Liao.

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Muslim Global: 67 dead in construction site collapse in east China
67 dead in construction site collapse in east China
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