Crane's alarm may have been impeded

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 April, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 April, 1999, 12:00am

Failure to use stabilisers on a crane that collapsed and killed a police officer last Saturday might have handicapped its alarm system, initial investigations have indicated.

But it is understood that engineers have so far found no mechanical problems with the crane, which killed Constable Kong Wing-fat, 38.

'The crane functions are okay. But more tests will have to be done on the alarm system,' a source said.

He said the alarm system might not work properly if stabilisers were not used while the crane was loading an item.

'The alarm is activated if the system finds the loading, the radius and angle of the jib exceeds a certain level. The machine will automatically be stopped if the alarm system finds the problematic loading conditions persist.

'But if no stabiliser is used, the alarm may not be activated even if the relevant readings have reached a certain level,' the source said.

Police have admitted no stabilisers were used when Kong was trapped and killed underneath the falling jib of the crane, which was being used to lift a sampan at a Sai Kung marine police base.

The Labour Department said stabilisers should be used if the situation allowed, and the source said the site where the crane was used was spacious enough for the supporting legs to be used.

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department will submit its final report to the Labour Department, which is investigating if safety procedures were followed.

Station Sergeant Tse Long-san, who operated the crane when the accident happened, has been given psychological counselling and is taking sick leave until Thursday.

Marine East Divisional Commander Superintendent Richard Sheridan said no decision had been reached on whether to transfer Sergeant Tse to other sections after the incident.

He described Kong as a reliable and hardworking police officer.

A police funeral will be held for Kong on April 12 and he will be buried at the civil servants' burial ground at Gallant Garden, Wo Hop Shek.