A collapsed pipe tunnel that killed 3 people is being blamed on an intern who worked as a quality inspector

A collapsed pipe tunnel that killed 3 people is being blamed on an intern who worked as a quality inspector
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Photos and surveillance footage show the worksite where a tunnel collapsed and killed three construction workers in Jinan.
Photos and surveillance footage show the worksite where a tunnel collapsed and killed three construction workers in Jinan.

  • Authorities are blaming an intern for a construction firm in China for a tunnel collapse.
  • The intern, Wang Nianpu, is named “mainly responsible” and criminally liable while his bosses face fines.
  • Wang was supposed to deliver an important stop-work order but failed to do so, investigators said.

Chinese authorities have named a construction intern as likely criminally responsible for a pipe network collapse that killed three construction workers.

Wang Nianpu, an intern working as a quality inspector, was one of three people marked in an investigation report as liable for the collapse in December along a main road in central Jinan City.

The report, seen by Business Insider, was filed in early May but went viral after local media reported the case over the weekend.

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It said the workers were killed in a tunnel that collapsed because a steel support beam was missing. An excavator was plowing through soil at the entrance, causing steel plating inside the trench to fall and crush the trio.

As a result, dozens of local government officials, Wang’s senior colleagues, and bosses face fines, warnings, or formal admonishment.

Only Wang, a technician, and a site supervisor were named for criminal investigation.

The report singled out Wang, saying he was “mainly responsible for the occurrence of the accident” and that he was previously detained but released on bail pending his trial.

But it wasn’t his role as a quality inspector that landed him in trouble.

According to the investigation run by Jinan’s Emergency Management Bureau, Wang’s supervisors discovered a safety hazard in the tunnel on December 28 and signed an order to stop work for the next day.

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Wang was instructed to deliver the order to construction crews on December 29 but failed to do so for “personal reasons,” the report said.

Authorities said the tunnel collapsed the next day.

The report found that the work carried out in the trench broke regulations and recommended a $151,000 fine for a Qingdao branch of PowerChina Construction, which was overseeing the site.

It’s unclear who was Wang’s direct employer. PowerChina Construction is a state-owned company and worked on the project with several subcontractors, including Chengda Lighting Engineering and Hengxin Construction Supervision.

Wang’s case went viral on Weibo, China’s version of X, on Tuesday, becoming the top search topic on the platform for several hours, per data seen by BI.

“I’m shocked. This type of accident is blamed on the person with the lowest salary?” one Weibo user wrote. “You’re asking him to take the main blame when he can’t even sit at the table for meals.”

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“It’s no longer a joke that interns must bear important responsibility. It’s a fact,” wrote another.

Local media outlet Red Star News, citing labor experts from law firms in Beijing and Hunan, wrote that the “status of an intern should not be a prerequisite for a person to be exempted from criminal punishment.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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