BEIJING – At least 40 people were killed in a scaffolding collapse Thursday morning at a construction site in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi, state media reported.
A work platform at a power plant cooling tower being built in the city of Fengcheng came tumbling down at about 7:30 a.m., an official with the local Work Safety Administration said by telephone.
He put the confirmed death toll at 22 but the official Xinhua News Agency said that figure had risen to at least 40 by midday. Xinhua did not cite its source for the information and calls to local government information offices rang unanswered.
Xinhua said an unknown number of others were still trapped in the debris.
Television footage and photographs from the site showed iron pipes and wooden planks strewn across the floor of the massive concrete cooling tower.
China has suffered a series of major industrial accidents over recent months blamed on corruption, disregard for safety and pressure to boost production amid a slowing economy.
The head of a logistics company was recently handed a suspended death sentence over a massive explosion at an illegal chemical warehouse in the northern port of Tianjin last year that killed 173 people, most of them firefighters and police officers.
In June 2015, 442 people were killed in the capsize on the Yangtze River of a modified cruise ship blamed on poor decisions made by the captain and crew, while 81 people were killed in December when an enormous, man-made mountain of soil and waste collapsed on nearly three dozen buildings in the southern manufacturing center of Shenzhen.