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7 Dead After Construction Site Elevator Falls 14 Stories
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Seven construction workers died and one was injured when a construction materials elevator plunged 14 stories on a building site in Mudanjiang city, in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, on Sunday.

The local construction bureau said the tragedy occurred at 12:05 PM at the site of the city's grain and oil trade market project.

Witnesses said the elevator, carrying eight workers, suddenly fell out of control as it reached the 14th floor.

Two workers died at the scene, two died on the way to hospital and three others died later in hospital. The injured worker is still in hospital.

Initial investigations blame a "serious violation" of working rules for the tragic accident. Workers are forbidden to travel in the elevator that is normally used to carry concrete and mortar.

Three staff of the Mudanjiang Hualian Construction Company - the project manager, safety supervisor and elevator operator – ran away after the accident and are still at large, a spokesman with local construction bureau said.

Local construction safety administration officials had suspended the elevator operating permit before the accident because the company used the elevator to carry workers in addition to construction materials, and ordered it to stop doing so.

But the company ignored the instructions and continued to operate the elevator unsafely, leading to the fatal accident.

(Xinhua News Agency September 13, 2006)

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