Sign falls on 3 carnival-goers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 April, 2007, 12:00am

Three people on the Pirate River ride at the World Carnival in Admiralty were injured, one seriously, when a huge sign collapsed on their car.

Strong winds toppled the heavy metal sign board, which had coloured lights spelling out Pirate River and measured 15 metres by four.

Firemen had to raise a hydraulic platform 15 metres above the ground from which to rescue the passengers, who were taken to Queen Mary Hospital. A 26-year-old woman surnamed Leung was in serious condition last night with head injuries. A 28-year-old woman surnamed Ng was in stable condition and a 26-year-old man surnamed Ngai was in satisfactory condition.

Carnival-goer Yukiko Lim Tong-zhen, 18, said a friend who worked at the fair had said there was 'lots of blood'. 'It was raining heavily by that time,' she said. 'The ferris wheel also stopped suddenly with its lights out. Two cars with passengers up there were stranded. I thought it was power failure.'

Carnival public relations officer Teresa Hong Wai-hing said there was 'a strange gust of wind' when the sign collapsed at about 8.40pm.

The carnival's operator thoroughly examined all mechanical issues of the 29 rides every morning before opening, she said, and monitored weather condition every hour during opening times.

'Normally we would suspend the rides if a wind scale of eight is recorded,' she said. 'The wind scale was taken as four to five in a measurement before the incident happened.'

The Observatory said it had issued a thunderstorm warning at about 8pm. Acting senior scientific officer Leung Wai-hung said the wind speed had been measured at about 70km/h in the Admiralty area at about the time of the incident.

Electrical and Mechanical Services Department officers were inspecting the ride last night.

Ms Hong said the ride would remain closed pending results of the department's investigation.

The carnival at the Tamar site has been popular since it opened on December 15. It closes on Monday.