China detains 9 as collapse death toll hits 74

Chinese police have detained nine people, and the death toll has reached 74, after the deadly construction site collapse in Jiangxi province on 24 November.

People detained include the chairman of Hebei Yineng Tower Engineering Co Ltd, and the project’s chief engineer, reports China Daily.

The 74 died when a crane toppled at about 7am causing scaffolding and a construction platform to collapse inside an unfinished cooling tower at the Fengcheng Power Plant project, say reports.

Rescue crews were recalled from the site after a final search on 25 November found no new casualties, the provincial government said.

More than 60 people were working on the platform and another dozen were on the ground waiting to begin their shift when the platform collapsed.

The rescue effort involved more than 300 rescuers, two drones and seven cranes.

One worker, Wang Yaosheng, told Xinhua how he narrowly escaped death by running away when he saw the falling platform.

"Several elevators collapsed. All those on the platform fell and were crushed by the steel bars and other materials," he said. "I was shocked."

The new cooling tower is part of a $1.1bn expansion plan of Fengcheng Power Plant, which is owned by state-owned Jiangxi Ganneng Co. Ltd.. Trading of its shares was suspended Thursday following the accident.

Xinhua reports that Hebei Yineng Tower Engineering Co. Ltd. is building the tower.

Liao Huishou, an engineer from the firm in charge of the project, told Xinhua that it is a complicated project because of its double-curve design.

"Time was very pressing and the construction was very difficult," said Liao.

Image: Rescuers search for survivors after the collapse of a platform at a cooling tower under construction in China on 24 November, 2016 (VCG/Getty Images)

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