One killed, 16 missing in China subway tunnel cave-in

November 15th, 2008 - 10:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Nov 15 (Xinhua) One person was killed and 16 were missing after a road caved in on a subway tunnel under construction in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou Saturday, officials and witnesses said.Nineteen people were taken to hospital, a spokesman with the rescue headquarters said.

Witnesses and rescuers earlier said at least 50 people were trapped underground, but the exact number was yet to be known. They are believed to be mostly construction workers.

Zhu Juzhong, a 56-year-old worker from the Sichuan province who was being treated for his injuries at a city hospital, said: “There is some distance between where I was working and the cave-in site. Lots of workers immediately rushed to the hoist to be lifted above ground.”

“Some colleagues who moved slowly were buried,” he said.

About 30 workers managed to escape on the hoist, and three fell from the hoist during the rush, he added.

At least 13 vehicles were also trapped in a 75-meter-long and 15-meter-deep crater following the cave-in, which occurred at about 3:15 p.m.

According to witnesses, a bus carrying 37 passengers was also trapped at the site, but all the passengers were brought to safety by rescuers.

Meanwhile, water from a river flowing beside the cave-in site entered into the tunnel, and the water level was rising.

Provincial Governor Lu Zushan has arrived at the site to oversee the rescue operation.

About 2,000 rescuers are struggling to pump water out of the tunnel and haul the vehicles from the crater. Three vehicles had been pulled out by 8:45 p.m.

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