Authorities in southern China say 18 people have been killed and 18 others hospitalized following the collapse of a massive overhead crane at a construction site amid a fierce windstorm.

The 80-ton crane fell directly onto two-story temporary buildings in the city of Dongguan on Wednesday morning. Of those in hospital, four were listed in serious but stable condition.

Spokesman for the rescue effort Luo Bin was quoted by state media as saying that 139 people were in the buildings at the time of the accident, and 88 managed to escape on their own.

The accident is the deadliest to strike the region since 74 people were left dead or missing when a man-made mountain of construction waste collapsed onto buildings in the nearby city of Shenzhen in December.