Thirty-Two Workers Die in Chinese Molten Steel Spill
CHINA—At 7:45a.m., on April 18, a huge ladle of molten steel at the Qinghe Special Steel Co. in Tieling City, Liaoning Province, spilled 2,700 degree molten steel that flooded a room, causing 32 deaths and 6 injured.
An industrial ladle holding 30 metric tons of molten steel sheared off an iron rail while moving into the pouring position at the plant. The over 2,700 degree Fahrenheit molten steel immediately flowed into a room less than 5 meters away. All 32 workers inside the room, who were waiting to change shifts, were burned to death. Six other people were injured.
It was reported that because the temperature of the molten steel at the scene was so high, rescue work could not be carried out promptly.
According to Xinhua.net, 2 slightly injured workers fled the scene of the accident. A few who were fortunate enough to escape death were being treated at the hospital that afternoon.
Survivors Recount Their Stories
Jiao Zhengyan, the 38-year-old head of the company's ingot casting section, escaped death. However his buttocks and back were burned. He was bending down to pick up some tools when he suddenly heard screams in the room where the industrial ladle was. He saw it falling and knew that the hoist was out of order, so he ran for his life.
According to Jiao, “As the ladle was falling, it hit a flatbed and tilted. The molten steel immediately flowed into the nearby conference room.” At that time, dozens of workers were preparing to change shifts. All of them were killed instantly.
Zhou Xiaofe, another worker who suffered minor injuries, said that the molten steel was more than 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat even burned his clothes. He survived because he fled without thinking about anything.
Zhou recalled, “My co-workers were preparing to change shifts when I suddenly heard a buzzer. I immediately sensed that something was wrong and ran out of the factory immediately. When the burning molten steel splashed on my body, it was as painful as being hit by an iron bar. My brain went blank. I didn't have time to turn my head back to see the scene. Had I turned my head back at that moment when running away, I might have lost my life.”
Qinghe Special Steel Co., Ltd. in Tieling City has 650 workers and 42 technicians, producing 140,000 tons of special steel per year.