Two others were injured after the work platform at a power plant cooling tower that was under construction collapsed yesterday, sending iron pipes, steel bars and wooden planks tumbling down on the workers, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Till late last night 68 victims have been identified. Most of them were born after 1980, with the youngest being 23 years old, and the oldest 53, the report said. T
hese people were working at the site at 7:00 am (local time) when the platform collapsed at the Fengcheng Power Plant in the city of Yichun, the report said. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang had urged local authorities to spare no efforts in the rescue, treatment and follow-up work. More than 200 firefighters were deployed, as well as search and rescue dogs.
32 fire engines and 212 military personnel had also been deployed, local officials said. Images from state broadcaster CCTV showed a pile of twisted metal and dozens of rescue workers searching for victims under the rubble.
The construction of two 1,000-megawatt coal-fired power units at the power station began last July and was expected to be completed by early 2018, the local government said.
The plant is owned by Jiangxi Ganneng Co Ltd., a state-owned power corporation listed in Shenzhen. Trading of its shares was suspended today following the accident.
China has a long history of industrial accidents, from factory explosions to mine collapses and there have been growing demands for more stringent safety standards.
Two drones and seven cranes were also involved in the rescue efforts. Last year, the Chinese port city of Tianjin was rocked by two massive blasts, killing at least 173 people and injuring hundreds others.
A metal dust explosion at a car parts factory in eastern China in August 2014 killed at least 75 people and injured more than 18 others.