Fri, November 21, 2008
China > Mainland > East China subway tunnel collapse

Search slows at scene of east China subway tunnel collapse

2008-11-19 16:11:44 GMT2008-11-20 00:11:44 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

HANGZHOU, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Frozen mud hampered search efforts for the bodies of 13 trapped workers in a collapsed subway tunnel in the eastern Zhejiang Province.

A 75-m section of a subway tunnel under construction in the provincial capital Hangzhou collapsed Saturday afternoon.

So far, eight people were confirmed dead and 11 injured workers were receiving treatment at a hospital. Another 13 people are still trapped. Rescuers say there is no chance of finding anyone alive.

"Workers are digging through silt to see if there are any bodies. If they can't find any remains, excavators will be used to clear the silt," said Hu Genyou, vice director of the administrative center of the China Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group Co. Ltd (CTCEG), the subway project contractor.

Workers dug at a rate of only 50 cm per hour. On Tuesday, 1,200cubic meters of silt were cleared.

"We made less progress Wednesday," Hu said. "The trapped workers are probably at the very bottom of the mire."

The tunnel is 16 meters deep and the mire about eight meters deep.

The victims, mostly farmers from the eastern Anhui Province, apparently received little training before they started work on the subway project.

The State Council Work Safety Committee said in a report issued on Wednesday that poor government surveillance and poor construction safety management were to blame for the accident.

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