Three Chinese workers from the Gezhouba company have died and 30 people have been injured after a tower crane conveyor belt broke and fell from a height of 19.6m onto workers at the Three Gorges project site in China. The China Daily reported that 29 people who were working on the belt were thrown to the ground while four people working under the tower were injured. The three killed were working on the flood discharge section of the dam.

The machine involved in the accident was supplied by the US company Rotec Industries. It is one of four combination crane and conveyor belt towers working on the dam and has been on the site for 14 months, conveying and pouring concrete. Steve Ledger from Rotec said that there are no conclusions yet as to why the machine broke.

‘The machine was partially disassembled and the belt broke during the reassembly process. Workers had taken two main conveyors off and had repaired a problem with a bearing. The machine was not being used for construction purposes at the time,’ he said. ‘I am not aware of what safety precautions were taken. Our people were not involved in the cleaning and repair of the equipment,’ he added.

Chinese inspection authorities and technical experts from Rotec are now investigating the tragedy and are analysing base material, solder and other equipment to find out what caused the accident. In the meantime, the Gezhouba company has reportedly banned the use of other tower and roof belt machines. Concrete pouring at the flood discharge section of the dam has been put on hold.

Meanwhile, another report in The China Daily claims that about US$60M of the US$2.1B allocated for resettlement has been embezzled. Reports say that China has already relocated about 30% of the 1.13M people being resettled to make way for the dam and reservoir.