Mystery of boy's electrocution

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 12:00am

The 12-year-old is fatally shocked after entering a light well to retrieve a lost ball

An investigation has been launched into the electrocution of a 12-year-old boy, who died as he climbed a ladder in a light well to retrieve a football.

Electricians have been unable to find the source of the shock which killed Primary Five student Cheuk Lei-lung.

He was playing football with two classmates on a playground on the roof of a car park in Nam Fung Sun Chuen, Greig Crescent, on the Kornhill estate in Quarry Bay.

His classmates, both aged 11, told police the ball was accidentally kicked onto the roof of a structure housing a ventilation duct and light well. The structure was not accessible from the outside.

The three boys went to the bottom floor of the car park, where they found the entrance to the light well unlocked.

A police officer said: 'We were told that as the boy [Lei-lung] was climbing up along the metal ladder fixed on the wall, his hand touched the ventilation duct and he apparently suffered an electric shock.

'He was thrown away from the ladder but his legs were trapped on the rungs and he was hanging upside down, with his face turning black. His friends went for help.'

Senior fire officer Ng Wah-sum, of Sai Wan Ho fire station, said the boy's body was found dangling about two metres above the ground when firemen arrived.

Lei-lung was declared dead at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital.

The boy lived with his parents and eldest brother in Yick Fat Building, King's Road, Quarry Bay. His neighbours said the boy liked playing football and was an AC Milan fan.

A technician from Hong Kong Electric said no current could be detected on the ladder or ventilation duct.

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department is investigating the cause of the incident.

A department employee at the site said there was no socket or electrical meter inside the light well and the design of the ventilation duct inside the light well needed checking with the estate's management office.

He said it was too early to say exactly what had happened.

People are prohibited from playing football on the private estate's playground, with warning signs erected. But a teenager playing football with two friends two hours after the incident said security guards seldom visited the playground or stopped them playing.

'Most children know the way to pick up their ball if it falls into the light well. Sometimes the ball falls all the way to the bottom of the light well and sometimes it lands on the roof. The door [to the light well] is unlocked all the time,' he said.

A member of staff of the estate's management office said it was not appropriate to comment as it was still investigating the incident.