12 dead after shoe factory in China collapses

Rescuers looking for survivors among the debris of the collapsed shoe factory in the city of Wenling in Zhejiang province.
Rescuers looking for survivors among the debris of the collapsed shoe factory in the city of Wenling in Zhejiang province.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BEIJING • Twelve people died after a shoe factory collapsed in eastern China, with more than 40 escaping on their own or getting rescued, state media reported yesterday.

More than 50 workers were in the building in the city of Wenling, in Zhejiang province, when the building came down on Saturday afternoon, the state-run China Central Television and official Xinhua news agency reported.

Reports said 33 people suffered injuries, four of them serious. Nine others escaped unhurt and two were unaccounted for. Xinhua said earlier that the cause of the collapse was being investigated.

"There was no premonition," a worker, Mr Yang Zhongkun, was quoted as saying. "I heard a bang and saw the building collapse."

Mr Yang added that water flowed down from a large fishing pool on the roof of the building, while other employees said leaking water was reported before the building gave way.

A total of 53 fire trucks, 302 rescuers and five rescue dogs were sent to the site, the report said.

Collapsed buildings and other industrial accidents are not uncommon in China, where many structures and facilities are old, and safety procedures can be lax.

Rebuilding has also not kept up with the nation's economic growth.

China's top safety watchdog in May blamed poor construction and weak safety standards for a fire at a nursing home that left 38 people dead. In April, almost 30,000 people were evacuated after a fire broke out in a Chinese chemical plant. It blazed for 50 hours before the flames were finally put out.

And in November - in one of the country's most highly accidentprone industries - a fire at a coal mine in north-eastern China killed 26 workers.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2015, with the headline '12 dead after shoe factory in China collapses'. Print Edition | Subscribe