Accident kart 'not properly maintained'
The go-kart in which Island School student Amy Rose Coxall was killed was not properly maintained and may have fallen short of international standards, a police expert told an inquest yesterday.
Its condition was so bad that masking tape had been used on the seat to put it together, said Superintendent Robin Jolly, who examined the kart after Coxall, 15, died on February 17 last year at the Diamond Coast International Kart Circuit in Lung Kwu Sheung Tan village, Tuen Mun. Her scarf had become entangled in the wheels.
Jolly told the Coroner's Court that the distance between Coxall's neck and the exposed axle was no more than 50cm.
'The scarf evidently became caught between the drive chain and sprockets and quickly entangled itself around the rear axle while it pulled tight,' he said.
Jolly said it was not clear whether the guard covering the rear of the kart had been deliberately removed or was broken off during the incident.
Without the guard, the vehicle would not have been up to international standards, Jolly said.
However, Chan Cheuk-fung, a committee member of the Hong Kong Kart Club, the watchdog which oversaw the park, said a missing guard would not have affected the kart's safety, as a driver would not come into contact with the rear of the kart. Chan said the circuit had passed a monthly inspection conducted by the club in the month before the deadly incident.
The court was told that two accidents involving karts running out of control had been reported to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department since the park opened in 2007.
The law does not require a track operator to obtain a licence, but the Leisure and Cultural Services Department requires operators to take out insurance and arrange for the kart club to conduct regular inspection.
The court heard on Thursday that Coxall, on her first visit to the circuit, was not given a safety training session before she took to the track.
The circuit shut down at the end of March last year.
Coroner Michael Chan Pik-kiu will sum up the evidence on Monday before the jury deliberates on the verdict.