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December 27, 2012

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Cold, UV rays doomed aquarium

THE acrylic glass of a massive aquarium that burst on Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall on the evening of December 18 had become brittle and fractured under the stress of cold temperatures, city work safety authorities said yesterday.

The bursting of the 33.5-ton aquarium along the outer first-floor wall at the Orient Shopping Center injured 16 people and killed three small sharks raised inside the 7-meter-long, 3-meter-high tank.

Investigators said their initial finding was that the acrylic glass can deteriorate over time.

"The wear was mainly caused by ultraviolet radiation and changing temperatures," said one work safety official.

"Experts called for detailed industry regulations concerning the aquarium material to prevent such accidents in the future," said Shen Weizhong, deputy director of the Shanghai Work Safety Administration.

Of the 16 injured in the case, only one in a cast for a broken leg is still being treated.

Meanwhile, a malfunctioning part was cited in an accident that occurred in a Baosteel factory in Shanghai last week, killing two and injuring 13, authorities said yesterday. Investigators found that an L-shaped block component failed to stop a crane carrying a furnace full of molten iron, which then toppled over and spilled on workers, according to Xinhua news agency. The cause of the malfunction is under further investigation.

The accident happened on December 17. Among the 13 injured, one suffering the most severe and extensive burns is still in danger.

Police are also searching for the legal representative of Shanghai Jiangshen Development Co, the firm held responsible for the building collapse in Minhang District that killed three people on December 10. Nine people have been seized and are in police custody, said the authorities.

The building was undergoing illegal renovation as workers converted the former factory into small, low-rent apartments, officials said.


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