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August 21, 2009

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Task force begins probe into crash of 2 cranes

A TASK force has been set up to investigate the cause of a crash involving two cranes on Wednesday that killed four workers and injured three others, city government announced yesterday.

The investigation task force, headed by the city's quality and technical supervision authority, consists of officials with the public security bureau, construction commission, safety production bureau and trade union.

City officials reported that the three workers who were injured on Wednesday night - not two as was initially reported - at a construction site for the Shanghai-Beijing express rail project in Jiading District have been discharged from a hospital.

About 6pm, Wednesday night, a 10-ton gantry crane slid and crashed into another crane, killing four workers who were sheltering from heavy rain in a driver's compartment. The injured were able to escape the main impact of the crash.

Co-workers at the site said most of the victims came from Jiangsu Province.

A worker surnamed Ge told Shanghai Daily that one of the dead was the leader of a team that was supposed to assemble one of the two cranes at that time.

Li Jingbao, 36, a grocery store owner who witnessed the accident, said people were running around as someone called rescuers while others tried to dig the victims out after the accident.

"It was really a terrifying sight watching the sudden crash," said Li, who was about 30 meters away when the cranes crashed.

By 8pm a police cordon had already been set up.

The last firefighter truck left the site about 9:20pm. The bodies of the dead were not removed until 10pm.

Meanwhile, government officials including the constructor, China Communications Construction Third Harbor Engineering Co Ltd, were called to an emergency meeting at the construction site soon after the accident.

After the meeting, an official with the local quality watchdog said strong wind may have played a part, but he did not disclose other possible causes since the accident was still under "thorough investigation."


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