Rescue helicopters made smoke worse
Helicopters hovering over the Garley Building fanned more smoke into an office where workers were gasping for breath, the inquiry was told yesterday.
Cheung Yuen-chung, a customer service operator at the Pacific Link Communications Company on the 11th floor, said: 'Our office was already filling with smoke but the helicopter fanned more into the premises.' The helicopter was deployed by the Government Flying Service to rescue people trapped on the building's roof.
'The wind generated by the helicopter spread smoke to every corner of the room,' he said.
He said the workers returned to the office to dial 999 after failing to escape down the staircase. They squatted and covered their noses with wet tissues, Mr Cheung said.
Before long, the lights went out, the temperature soared and the room was filled with smoke, he said.
Breathing became more difficult and more than eight people fell unconscious. Some were coughing and suffering from nausea while others threw white paper out of the window and screamed for help.
Mr Cheung said he was conscious but could not see far. At that moment, he said, a fireman arrived and gave them oxygen, water and wet towels.
Mr Cheung said he and 20 other colleagues waited for more than two hours in the office before being rescued.
The hearing before Mr Justice Woo Kwok-hing continues today.