A construction platform collapsed in East China’s Jiangxi Province last Thursday, killing 74 workers and injuring two.
More than 60 people were working on the construction of a cooling tower that was undergoing repairs, and another dozen were below the platform waiting for their shift to begin at 7 a.m. when the platform collapsed.
Amid the avalanche of scaffolding, steel, and cement, about 300 rescuers, two drones, seven cranes, and several rescue dogs all got to work searching for victims shortly after.
Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang called for rescue teams to “work around the clock to save people trapped,” and to “make every effort to treat the wounded and try their best to reduce casualties.”
China is the largest construction market in the world, followed by the U.S. But sadly, China has experienced a number of major industrial accidents over the past few years. The government has vowed to crack down on construction site safety, yet tens of thousands of workers still die in mines, factories, and building sites every year.
This high death toll is often blamed on corruption, a blatant disregard for safety, and intense pressure to boost production to save a slowing economy.
The cause of this most recent accident at the cooling tower in Jiangxi Province has not yet been determined, though reports have said that the 200-foot-high platform fell after a crane collapsed. Construction equipment has a typical life expectancy of about 15 years, so if the crane was older, it could have simply failed due to age-related wear and tear.
Government officials have promised the Chinese people that they will find the cause of the disaster and do everything in their power to prevent a recurrence.
“Strengthen oversight and preventative measures,” said the prime minister on the central government’s website. “Prevent such major accidents from recurring,” he instructed.