HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) _ A construction hoist on a skyscraper dropped 17 floors to the ground on Thursday, killing 15 workmen.

Police with dogs and batons controlled grieving relatives and onlookers, who rushed to the scene as news of the accident spread.

State inspectors launched an investigation into how the hoist, carrying the men and construction materials, fell more than 200 feet at the new Millennium Towers skyscraper. The construction, being done by John Sisk contractors for the Central Africa Building Society, was nearly finished.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions condemned the crash as a reflection of ``low and deteriorating health and safety standards,'' and called for measures to protect and prevent future accidents.

The National Social Security Authority reported 20,000 industrial accidents in all sectors last year.