Memorial arch collapses in Hangzhou
The front page story today in the Jinling Evening News in Nanjing reports on an incident that occurred yesterday in Hangzhou when a memorial arch collapsed, killing two and injuring one. At about 09:40 in the morning, the wood and brick structure of around six meters suddenly collapsed on a busy public square. A preliminary investigation concluded that the arch, inscribed with the characters 清河坊 (Qinghe fang), collapsed due to the fracturing of linkages between the decorated archway and the reinforced concrete holding the structure in place. The arch is relatively new as it was constructed in October 2001. Yet with the arch now lying in ruins, all that’s left standing are its two limestone foundations.
The article tells the story of a few witnesses who narrowly managed to escape unharmed. Miss Jiang, who had just bought an ice cream and was walking out on the square when the structure suddenly and without warning collapsed, dropped her ice cream and ran for her life. Another middle-aged woman had just bought a pair of shoes on the square, but finding them a size too big, turned back in the direction of the store just before the arch collapsed, a change of direction which likely saved her life. Then there’s Mr Chen, who was walking across the square dressed in his slippers. “I saw people getting smashed under the falling arch,” he says, “and if I wasnt walking a bit slower with my slippers, I would have been smashed too.” At 09:42 emergency services arrived at the scene, but two people died when they were crushed under the arch.