Pedestrians hurt by flying manhole covers in freak gas explosion

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 January, 2003, 12:00am

Four pedestrians were slightly injured by flying metal manhole covers after an underground gas explosion in Tsuen Wan yesterday.

Two men, aged 73 and 75, and a woman, 37, were admitted to Yan Chai Hospital in a stable condition. Another man, 63, was treated and discharged.

The freak incident happened just before 9.30am when the 40kg covers of two manholes on Chung On Street, near Sha Tsui Road, suddenly blew off.

One victim said he was standing near a manhole when he heard a loud bang. The metal cover then flew up, injuring his leg.

A newspaper vendor who was sitting about a metre away from the manholes said there were two explosions.

She said in the second explosion, a man standing on a manhole was blown about two metres in the air by the force of the blast, before falling into the hole and becoming trapped.

She said passers-by rushed to his aid and got him out before ambulancemen arrived.

Firemen later inspected the manholes with a heat-detector but could not determine the cause of the explosion.

A spokesman said there was a minor explosion caused by an unknown gas, which had caused the covers to lift off.

He said the cause was most likely a gas leak.

Town Gas supply to the district was temporarily turned off, and samples from the manhole were taken for analysis by a government chemist.