Date
10 December 2016
Rescue workers search at the site where a power plant's cooling tower under construction collapsed in Fengcheng, Jiangxi province, on Thursday. Photo: China Daily/Reuters
Rescue workers search at the site where a power plant's cooling tower under construction collapsed in Fengcheng, Jiangxi province, on Thursday. Photo: China Daily/Reuters

Probe ordered after 67 killed in accident at Jiangxi power plant

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has ordered an investigation into an accident at a power plant in the eastern province of Jiangxi that killed at least 67 people early on Thursday, demanding that those responsible be held accountable.

“Strengthen supervision and preventive measures, prevent such a major accident from happening again,” Li was quoted as saying in a statement on the central government’s website.

A platform under construction at a power plant in Fengcheng collapsed at around 7 a.m., Reuters reports.

At least three others were injured in the incident at a cooling tower for the coal-fired plant, the Wall Street Journal said, citing a report by state broadcaster China Central Television.

Authorities think 70 people were on site when the platform collapsed, according to CCTV.

The construction work at the Ganneng Fengcheng power plant is part of a 7.67 billion yuan (US$1.1 billion) expansion project to add two 1,000-megawatt coal-fired power units by early 2018, the Journal said, citing local government announcements.

Deadly accidents are relatively common at industrial sites in China, ranging from mining disasters to factory fires, Reuters said.

The company building the plant, Jiangxi Ganneng Co (000899.CN), confirmed the toll of 67 dead. In a stock exchange filing, it said it was cooperating with authorities.

Shares of Jiangxi Ganneng fell 3.7 percent on Thursday before trading was suspended. Shares will resume trading on Friday, the company said in its statement.

One trapped worker was rescued from the rubble, China News Service reported.

China has vowed to improve safety at such facilities. President Xi Jinping has said authorities would learn the lessons paid for with blood after chemical blasts in the port city of Tianjin killed more than 170 people last year.

Shortly after those explosions, Yang Dongliang was removed from his post as director of the State Administration of Work Safety, and later charged with corruption.

During his trial, which ended on Thursday, he admitted to taking bribes and gifts worth 28.5 million yuan, state television reported. He will be sentenced later, it added.

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