18 Chinese construction workers killed as steel frame falls onto dormitory

Strong winds blow structure onto shed while workers are sleeping; 18 remain in hospital

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 April, 2016, 5:02am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 April, 2016, 5:02am

Eighteen construction workers were killed when a steel frame fell onto and crushed the shed housing them in Dongguan, Guangdong, on Wednesday.

Wind blew the frame onto the shed at about 5am, crushing the 200-square-metre building and burying the workers beneath, most of whom were asleep.

CCTV reported the shed had been housing 139 workers and 88 had managed to evacuate on their own.

Fifteen workers suffering minor injuries were discharged from hospital yesterday while 18 remained receiving treatment, four of them in severe condition.

The city’s health department said most of the injured suffered fractures and lacerations.

The site belongs to CCCC Fourth Harbour Engineering, a subsidiary of state firm China Communication Construction Company, which specialises in prefabricated buildings.

Guangdong provincial Communist Party secretary Hu Chunhua told officials to expedite the rescue operation. Dongguan’s party chief Xu Jianhua and senior city officials later inspected the rescue site.

Some 250 firefighters and 40 fire engines were dispatched from Dongguan, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

The incident drew criticism online, with people questioning why such a heavy frame would be placed next to a shed housing workers, especially given the extreme weather.

In the past three days, Guangdong has been battered by downpours, strong winds, hail and thunderstorms.

Many cities, including Zhaoqing, reported flooding and strong winds that toppled trees.