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Scalded woman fighting for life

[ 2012-04-05 11:03]     字号 [] [] []  
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A young woman is fighting for her life after falling into scalding water when a section of pavement collapsed on a Beijing street.

Yang Erjing, 27, was walking on Beilishi Road in Xicheng district on Sunday when the ground gave way and she fell into 90 C water, which had leaked from underground heating pipes.

Local residents had reported steam rising from the pavement earlier and pipe repairs were already under way further along the street.

Yang, a clothing store manager and mother of a 7-month-old child, was rushed to Jishuitan Hospital, where, on Wednesday, she was reported to be in a coma, suffering serious burns to 99 percent of her body.

An investigation has been launched by Xicheng district's work safety bureau and other departments, including Beijing District Heating Group, which operates the city's trunk pipelines and was carrying out repairs near the accident scene.

Zhang Chuandong, an official at the heating group, said old and corroded pipes were likely to blame for the tragedy.

At the group's pipe repair site on Beilishi Road, the emergency team leader said the cracked pipes had been in use for at least 10 years, but he could not confirm the situation at the accident site as the pipes were four meters underground.

Zhang said on Wednesday 78 meters of pipes had been replaced and repairs would be finished on Thursday.

However, Zhang said the pipe maintenance was actually the responsibility of Wuhua Mansion, an office block near the scene of the accident. After the previous regular inspection, his group had asked the building to repair the broken pipes, he said.

An official at the property management department of Wuhua Mansion, who did not wish to be named, said he did not think it was their duty to maintain the pipes.

"The pipes are out of our management area because they are under the road," the official said. He said that steam had been rising from the pavement for a long time, but was ignored.

"We reported it to the heating group after finding hot water leaking from the ground before the accident occurred. Repair workers came to close a valve, but didn't take emergency measures, such as setting up a warning sign," he said.

He claimed that the developers of Wuhua Mansion had paid 320,000 yuan ($50,800) toward the victim's medical treatment, but "which party should finally pay compensation will depend on who is deemed responsible by the investigation team."

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Scalded woman fighting for life

About the broadcaster:

Scalded woman fighting for life

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.