Workers killed as elevator plummets 34 floors to ground

Updated: 2012-09-14 08:04

By Zhou Lihua in Wuhan, Hubei and Zhao Lei in Beijing (China Daily)

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 Workers killed as elevator plummets 34 floors to ground

Staff workers search for bodies in the accident and clean up the site in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Thursday. Provided to China Daily

Nineteen workers at a construction site in Wuhan, Hubei province, died on Thursday after the elevator they were using fell 100 meters to the ground.

The tragedy happened around 1 pm when 19 painters at the construction site of Donghujingyuan, a residential real estate project, were taking an elevator, according to the local fire department.

A malfunction occurred as the elevator was going up and it began to accelerate, local media reported.

As soon as it reached the top 34th floor, the steel cables broke, leaving the car to fall free.

Firefighters rushed to the scene with rescue equipment at 1:30 pm and spent two hours pulling out all workers out of the damaged car. However, none survived.

Residents living near the construction site said the maximum capacity of the elevator used by the workers is 12 passengers, reported, a major news website in Wuhan.

Why the elevator was overloaded remains unknown.

City authorities have launched an investigation and pledged to punish those who are found responsible for the accident. All construction sites in the city have been asked to halt operations for work safety checks.

The government has made great efforts to improve work safety and reduce fatalities, but the overall situation remains unsatisfactory.

More than 347,000 work-related accidents happened in 2011, and more than 75,500 people died in such accidents, according to the State Administration of Work Safety.

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Tian Jingwen in Wuhan contributed to this story.

(China Daily 09/14/2012 page3)