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China: Panic among people after three killed in yet another gym collapse in Heilongjiang province

At least 11 people were killed in a gym collapse in the same province on July, while four managed to escape alive. According to a preliminary investigation, perlite was illegally placed on the roof of the gym by construction workers.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Beijing Published on: November 07, 2023 14:47 IST
Another gym collapsed in China's Heilongjiang province
Image Source : X Another gym collapsed in China's Heilongjiang province

At least three people were killed after a gymnasium in China's Heilongjiang province caved in on Monday amid heavy snowfall, seriously injuring another person. The cave-in sparked alarm among people as it is the second gym to collapse in the province this year.

According to BBC, children were present in the Yuecheng Gym Stadium in Jiamusi city when it collapsed. Rescuers were seen scrambling through snow-covered concrete rubble on a basketball court to find survivors. Authorities confirmed on Tuesday that three people were killed and one seriously injured.

A person in charge of the gym has been detained, according to authorities. No additional details, including the identities of the persons killed in the gym collapse, have been released. The incident sparked alarm across Chinese social media, with many people recalling the collapse of a gym in the same province in July that killed 11 people.

Citizens also called for answers from authorities in Jiamusi and pointed towards poor infrastructure and quality of public facilities in Heilongjiang. The disaster was trending at the top on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, where it drew over 1.3 billion views. 

"The collapse of the stadium in Qiqihar was not a long time ago, and there were checks everywhere after that - what did the checks do? This is an apparent man-made disaster," wrote one user in a comment that drew more than 9,000 likes.

What happened in July?

At least 11 people were killed when the roof of a gymnasium collapsed amid heavy rainfall in Longsha district of the Heilongjiang province. Out of the 19 people, only four people managed to survive the roof collapse. 

According to a preliminary investigation, perlite was illegally placed on the roof of the gym by construction workers while constructing another teaching building. The perlite was soaked in water due to the rains and gained weight, leading to the roof collapse. 

Persons in charge of the construction company were taken into custody following the deadly roof collapse, local media reported.

Authorities have not revealed if the gym that collapsed on Monday was subject to routine checks after the July incident, although the county authorities' WeChat account showed a post stating officials had conducted a safety check on the stadium in July.

Meanwhile, locals have called for authorities to take further action such as more inspections of large public facilities in the province. "Hope the authorities can be responsible, check on these stadiums and avoid other tragedies as soon as possible," one comment read.

Heilongjiang is China's northern-most province and is in the part of the country's north-east which has been battling a sudden cold snap in recent days.

ALSO READ | China: 11 killed after roof of school gym collapses in Heilongjiang amid heavy rains

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