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Village takes brunt of accident deaths

China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-29 07:41

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 work-safety checks to prevent accidents and plug holes in safety standards.

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