At least two workers were trapped inside a collapsed highway tunnel in Guangxi province yesterday, sparking concerns amid a spate of construction accidents.
A spokesman for Hechi city's fire department said the accident took place around noon when a section of a highway tunnel being constructed collapsed. The incident occurred about 220 metres inside the tunnel. Seven people escaped.
No additional information was available last night about possible victims or the cause of the accident.
The highway is designed to link Hechi to Duan county. The accident site is within the border of Yizhou's Longtou village. More than 30 rescuers were sent to the scene and rocks were still falling at 6pm.
Local media reported that the project is being undertaken by the Beijing Municipal Road and Bridge Construction company. Work on the 2.7-kilometre tunnel began at the end of last year with 400 metres built so far. According to China National Radio, the geographical conditions of the tunnel are complicated with many limestone caves along the way. The accident took place after days of heavy rainfall.
Last month, a tunnel collapsed in Shandong province's Dalian city, where 12 workers were successfully rescued, according to Xinhua.
In June, an underground freight tunnel being built at Kunming's new airport collapsed, injuring 11 workers, China News Service reported. It follows the collapse of a bridge to the airport's car park in January last year that killed seven people. The new airport is expected to be the mainland's fourth-biggest when construction work is completed at the end of this year.
The State Council last month issued an order to step up work safety in construction projects, transport services, as well as mining and dangerous chemical goods industries.