Tree fell after delay

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 September, 2010, 12:00am

A 10-metre tree in Wong Tai Sin that fell with branches hitting a taxi driver on Saturday afternoon was to have been removed days ago but work was delayed by wet weather.

Removal work had begun last week, after a late August inspection revealing that a batch of surrounding trees was in poor health, said Architectural Services Department senior landscape architect Wong Chun-kit.

'The recent weather has been quite unstable. Our work was therefore interrupted intermittently.'

A 55-year-old taxi driver was released from hospital yesterday.

The incident happened at about 5pm on Saturday in Fung Mo Street, when the 10-metre Acacia confusa fell and hit two taxis, injuring one driver on the neck and waist. The tree had a diameter of 35 centimetres.

There were about a dozen trees planted on the same slope, all of which are to be trimmed or removed.

Tree Management Office head Lawrence Chau Kam-chiu inspected the site yesterday and said the remaining trees posed 'no urgent threat'.

University of Hong Kong geography professor Jim Chi-yung said the tree fell because of a fungal infection in the roots, making them unable to hold to the soil.

He said if there was a high risk of the tree falling, officials should have removed it even during rainy weather, or should at least have set up a roadblock in the area.