Chinese man crushed to death by 120kg barbell during bench press, family protests by displaying body, gym ordered to pay 900,000 RMB in compensation


21st September 2023 – (Nanyang City) A young man tragically lost his life recently while performing bench press exercises in a gym in mainland China. The incident occurred when he was accidentally crushed by a barbell weighing hundreds of kilograms, resulting in his immediate loss of consciousness and subsequent demise. Disturbing footage of the incident has sparked widespread attention.

The incident took place in an indoor fitness facility located in Zhenping County, Nanyang City, Henan Province, on the afternoon of July 3rd. The young man was alone in the gym, engaging in bench press exercises with no assistance nearby. After struggling for several minutes, he ceased to make any further movements while pinned under the 120-kilogram barbell. It was not until someone discovered him that it was revealed that the barbell had been pressing against his neck for over half an hour.

One of the gym’s partners, Mr. Zhao, revealed that the deceased individual, named Hou, was 27 years old, unmarried, and a close friend of his. Mr. Zhao stated, “Hou had a good relationship with us, the gym’s partners. He had been involved in fitness training for at least five years, starting during his university days. He even worked as a fitness coach at our gym for a few months.” As Hou possessed a key to the gym, he was able to enter and exercise there alone during non-business hours. It was only at 2.30pm., when the gym officially opened, that the accident was discovered by another partner who was resting at the bar counter.

Hou had a habit of recording his training sessions, and tragically, the final video segment captured his own fatal ordeal.

Following Hou’s passing, his family placed his body in a crystal coffin inside the gym, where it remained for a week. They demanded compensation from the gym, but both parties failed to reach an agreement, resulting in the closure of the fitness facility.

Hou’s family filed a lawsuit against Mr. Zhao and the other partners of the gym, seeking a compensation of 1.2 million RMB. In the initial trial, the local court held the gym accountable for 90% of the responsibility and ordered them to pay 900,000 RMB to Hou’s family. Mr. Zhao, dissatisfied with the judgment, has appealed the decision, and the second trial is yet to take place.

Feng Jian, the director of the Henan Zejin Law Firm, analyzed the case and stated that as operators of the fitness club, they have an obligation to ensure the safety of the premises and provide a secure fitness environment. Although the young man involved in the incident was neither a coach nor a member of the gym, he had a close relationship with the gym’s partners and frequently exercised there free of charge. In such circumstances, the gym may bear a certain degree of management responsibility and should have appropriately supervised and monitored the man’s fitness activities.