A government official who approved the construction waste dump that triggered the massive landslide in Shenzhen last week has committed suicide according to state media.
According to Xinhua, Xu Yuanan, the director of Shenzhen Guangming New District Urban Management Bureau, fell to his death from the top of a residential building in the Nanshan district of the city.
Reuters states that police are making no link between Xu’s apparent suicide and the disaster, despite the government warning earlier that those held responsible would be “seriously punished in accordance with the law”.
The powerful landslide which engulfed more than 33 buildings at an industrial park on the outskirts of Shenzhen was caused by the collapse of a pile of excavated soil and construction waste which had accumulated over the course of two years.
The urban management bureau is responsible for inspecting waste dumps and public records show it issued an order for the site to close in July until it addressed safety problems. Residents in the area, however, claim to have seen trucks unloading waste at the dump in the days leading up to the landslide.
Yu’s suicide is the second such incident to have occurred in the wake of a major industrial accident. Ma Congbo, the owner of a gypsum mine in Shandong which collapsed on Friday trapping several workers underground, drowned himself in the early hours of Sunday morning while working alongside rescue teams.
– Do not leave the person alone
– Remove any sharp objects, alcohol, drugs or firearms that could be used in a suicide attempt
– Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional
– Call the following hotlines for help: Lifeline Shanghai: 021-6279-8990 (English speakers; 10am – 10pm daily); HopeLine: 4001619995 (Chinese speakers; 24/7 toll-free access)