NEW DELHI – A large chimney under construction at a power plant in central India collapsed, killing at least 20 people and injuring five others, police said. As many as 100 workers were feared trapped under the rubble.
The 250-foot chimney came crashing down Wednesday in the plant's cafeteria, where the workers were having tea, said Vishwa Ranjan, the director-general of police in Chhattisgarh state, where the accident occurred.
Emergency teams recovered 20 bodies and were using heavy cranes and cutters to rescue survivors in the rubble, Ranjan said. "It will take time to clear the rubble as there were huge pieces of concrete," he said.
Five injured people have been hospitalized, he said.
Ranjan said the power plant, owned by Bharat Aluminum Co., was being built by a Chinese company with the help of local contractors in Korba, nearly 600 miles (960 kilometers) southeast of New Delhi.
The cause of the accident was not immediately known. Poor quality of construction often causes building collapses in India.
About 300 people were working at the power plant at the time of the accident, the Press Trust of India news agency said.
Raman Singh, the top elected official of Chhattisgarh state, ordered a probe into the accident, PTI said.