Vil­lage takes brunt of ac­ci­dent deaths

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By CHI­NADAILY

Ten vic­tims of a con­struc­tion ac­ci­dent last week all came from a small vil­lage of about 600 fam­i­lies in He­bei prov­ince, Bei­jing News re­ported on Mon­day.

The col­lapse of a con­struc­tion plat­form on Thurs­day in­side an un­fin­ished cool­ing tower killed 74 peo­ple and in­jured two oth­ers at the Fengcheng Power Plant project in Yichun, Jiangxi prov­ince.

The news struck Baifan­tuan vil­lage hard.

“I could never work at a cool­ing tower again af­ter this. Even think­ing of it scares me,” a Baifan­tuan res­i­dent sur­named Bai, who lost seven rel­a­tives in the ac­ci­dent, told Bei­jing News.

He has worked on cool­ing tow­ers for more than 18 years, and had re­turned home a month ago from the site to help his fam­ily build a new house. He has can­celed plans to re­turn to Yichun.

By Sun­day af­ter­noon, po­lice had com­pleted DNA matches with fam­ily mem­bers for 55 of the vic­tims. Po­lice are hold­ing nine peo­ple un­der crim­i­nal de­ten­tion, in­clud­ing the chair­man of He­bei Yi­neng Tower Engi­neer­ing Co, and the project’s chief en­gi­neer, po­lice said on Mon­day.

Af­ter the ac­ci­dent, many house­holds in the vil­lage called fa­thers, hus­bands and sons— any­one who was work­ing as a mi­grant worker in ur­ban ar­eas.

“I was call­ing my son con­tin­u­ously, but his cell­phone was dis­con­nected. I was so des­per­ate,” said a 66-year-old whose son, Bai Huiguang, died in the col­lapse.

Vil­lager Bai Shup­ing re­cruits vil­lagers to work at con­struc­tion sites every year. He lost four fam­ily mem­bers: his brother, two neph­ews and a niece’s new hus­band.

His neigh­bor­ing house­hold lost a fa­ther, son and two neph­ews.

More than 70 fam­ily mem­bers from the vil­lage went to Yichun to iden­tify the bod­ies.

Com­pen­sa­tion of 1.2 mil­lion yuan ($173,500) will be paid to fam­i­lies for each of the work­ers killed, He­bei Yi­neng Yanta Con­struc­tion Co said on Sun­day. Some fam­i­lies had signed the com­pen­sa­tion agree­ment by the af­ter­noon.

Au­thor­i­ties on Sun­day told safety watch­dogs na­tion­wide to launch thor­ough work­safety checks to pre­vent ac­ci­dents and plug holes in safety stan­dards.

I could never work at a cool­ing tower again af­ter this. Even think­ing of it scares me.” A res­i­dent sur­named Bai in Baifan­tuan vil­lage who lost seven rel­a­tives in the ac­ci­dent on Thurs­day

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