Nineteen construction workers have plummeted 30 storeys to their death after an elevator scaling the high rise block they were building collapsed beneath their feet, prompting new calls for more stringent safety conditions in the mainland workplace.
The accident occurred at 1pm yesterday in Wuhan , Hubei , after cables attached to the elevator broke at the Donghu Garden construction site.
The workers fell to their deaths from the top of the building - a height of more than 100 metres.
All the victims were painters.
Hubei and Wuhan authorities said construction work in the city would be halted immediately for safety inspections.
The construction site has been blocked off, with the cause of the accident now under investigation. Hubei party boss Li Hongzhong and Governor Wang Guosheng have rushed to the scene to supervise the follow-up operation.
Work safety is a big problem across the mainland, with figures from the State Administration of Work Safety showing that more than 75,500 people died in work-related accidents last year.
In August last year, two workers were killed and two others were badly injured in Shanghai when an elevator dropped three floors at an office building that was under construction.
In August 2010, 11 people died after an elevator at a hospital construction site in Meihekou , Jilin , crashed from the sixth floor to the ground.
In April 2009, five workers died after they fell from an elevator at a construction site in Laiwu , Shandong .
In the same month, four workers died after scaffolding on the fifth floor of a construction site in Shanghai's Xuhui district collapsed when they were repairing an elevator hoist.