12 rescued from tunnel; nine killed in gas leak
By Zheng Caixiong, Mu Zi (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-28 05:42
Twelve workers, trapped in a collapsed highway tunnel for 34 hours, were
rescued yesterday evening.
The 12, suffering slight anoxia from lack of oxygen but otherwise uninjured,
walked free from the tunnel in Jiaoling County, northeast Guangdong Province,
almost exactly 24 hours after nine workers in Beijing died from the effects of
an industrial gas leak.
Speaking earlier in the day, an unnamed local government spokesman from
Jiaoling, under the city of Meizhou, was upbeat about rescue efforts at the
"We have contacted the workers and all of them are in good condition," he
told China Daily.
According to the spokesman, the trapped workers had enough air and drinking
water to last them until they were rescued.
"As it is the dry season at the moment, there is no danger of the tunnel
flooding," he added.
The accident happened at about 5:30 am on Wednesday when the
under-construction Guangfu Tunnel for the Tianjin-Shantou Expressway suddenly
A 10-metre-long section of the tunnel collapsed, 463 metres from the entrance
and 80 metres from where the victims were working, cutting them off from the
Following the collapse, Guangdong provincial government urged relevant
departments and rescuers to quickly bring the workers to safety and prevent
similar collapses from happening in the future.
The cause of the accident is being investigated.
On Wednesday, shortly before the tunnel collapse in Guangzhou, nine persons
were killed in Beijing by a gas leak at the steel giant Shougang Group.
Three of the victims were women cleaners employed by Shougang, the six others
were men working for another company.
According to the State General Administration of Work Safety, gas leaked from
a pump at the Shougang plant at around 15:40 on Wednesday, overcoming the nine
who were walking past.
A patrol guard found them unconscious and reported the accident.
The supply of gas to the pump was quickly shut down and the victims sent to
All nine died at around 19:00 the same evening.
No other casualties were reported.
Sources with Shougang said yesterday that the company was dealing with the
accident, discussing compensation with victims' families and investigating the
cause of the leak.
Work safety administration Director Li Yizhong and Beijing Vice-Mayor Lu Hao
are directing an investigation into the tragedy.
Lu said Shougang must draw lessons from the accident and pay more attention
to work safety during preparations for its coming relocation.
The steel giant plans to have moved out of Beijing to neighbouring Hebei
Province by 2010.
(China Daily 10/28/2005 page3)