Thu, Jun 07, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Separate accidents in China kill seven, injure at least 20

AGENCIES , BEIJING

Seven construction workers were killed in central China when a lift frame collapsed while being dismantled, Xinhua news agency said yesterday.

The accident, which happened on Tuesday at a high-rise in Nanyang, Henan Province, was under investigation, Xinhua said.

China has launched a crackdown on deadly accidents in mines, factories and on building sites, demanding that officials and managers do more to lower the tide of injury and death accompanying the nation's economic boom.

Thirty-two steel workers died in April after they were engulfed in molten metal in a poorly run plant using improper equipment.

collapse

Meanwhile, at least 20 people were injured, two of them seriously, after dozens were trapped under rubble from a collapsed building yesterday in the southwestern city of Leshan, officials and state media said.

About 90 mostly elderly people were inside a largely disused agricultural exhibition hall when part of the roof and a wall collapsed at around 7.20am, a Leshan government official said.

"There have been no deaths," Xia, who works in the information section of the city propaganda department, told reporters.

"Two have been seriously injured but they are not in danger. The others have been lightly injured — there are scratches, broken bones but nothing too serious," Xia said.

Another official by the name of Lei Dingbo confirmed Xia's story.

One firefighter was injured during the rescue of more than 30 people from the building, state media said.

Xinhua said earlier dozens were feared trapped under the building.

retirees

Most of the people in the two-storey building were retirees attending an early-morning lecture organized by a health journal and a pharmaceutical company, Xinhua said.

It added that most of the people were sitting at the front of the building and were able to escape.

Rescue workers were still searching through debris yesterday afternoon.

Some local residents speculated that recent heavy rain may have caused the collapse.

The exhibition hall was built in 1959 and was largely disused except for dances and other activities for retirees, the agency said.

Leshan is a popular tourist destination 100km southwest of Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan Province, and famous for its Grand Buddha, carved into a cliff face and standing more than 70m high.

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