• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 6:45am
NewsHong Kong

Two workmen plunge 500 feet to their deaths after gondola splits in two at The Peak

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 March, 2014, 2:42pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2014, 4:20am

Two workers - a man and a woman - plunged about 50 storeys to their deaths from a luxury residential building at The Peak yesterday after a working platform they were on snapped in two.

Police are also investigating reports that two other workers were also on the eight-metre metal cradle but apparently managed to cling on as it broke apart and climb uninjured back inside Tregunter Tower 3 on Tregunter Path, police said.

The two men were said to have left the scene before emergency crew arrived and crime-squad officers are investigating whether illegal workers may have been involved.

One piece of falling metal pierced the roof of a delivery van, injuring a 48-year-old worker inside. He was treated for hand injuries at Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam.

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung described the fatal accident as "rare and very serious" and promised a thorough investigation. Eight people have now died in the construction industry this year. "This is worrying. We need to step up education, publicity and enforcement on all fronts," Cheung said.

The two people who died had been carrying out maintenance work to the exterior of Tregunter Tower 3. The as yet unidentified man landed next to the bulk of the broken platform. His body was badly crushed.

The other victim, a female subcontractor, fell onto a nearby hillside, her arm and leg severed. The cause of the accident is still unknown and police are investigating together with the Labour and Electrical and Mechanical Services departments.

"We are not ruling out any possibility," a senior police officer said. "We will investigate whether the working platform was overloaded with construction materials or whether it was a mechanical fault."

At about 11am, the metal platform on which the workers were standing dropped suddenly to the 55th floor from a higher floor when its supports apparently gave way. Cement and tools had also been on the platform, according to police.

"A foreign domestic helper told police that she heard a bang before she realised the working platform had stopped at the 55th floor," another officer said. "It split up. Half of the platform broke off and plunged down."

The broken cradle hit scaffolding on the 10th floor, fell another 30 metres and then landed on a podium linking the tower with the neighbouring Hillsborough Court building.

"The whole building came out after the crash," said Andrew Leyden, who lives nearby. "We just saw a massive amount of dust."



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This article is now closed to comments

Poor workers, hopefully they died quickly.
Let's hope the police does their job and opens an investigation of the company/ owner/ manufacturer of the gondola.
Criminal negligence is what comes to mind.
evidently both were Vietnamese
Two Vietnamese workers - a man and a woman - plunged 152 meters to their deaths when a gondola from which they were working snapped in two at a construction site in Mid-Levels.
The dead man was Pham, 27, and his woman workmate Vong, 45.
Police said Vong fell to the ground and then rolled into a deep stream 200 meters from the scene. Pham was found lying in the car park of the opposite building.
The two were employed by Hong Dau Construction Co.
It is believed the two had fastened their safety belts to the platform as required but were pulled off when it split.
Officers of the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union said Vong had a daughter, 10, in Tuen Mun.
The workers seemed to have no safety harnesses which were tethered to separate safety ropes. These ropes are fastened to secure devises at an higher elevation or on the top of the building. Workers do not like at times to use the safety harnesses because they are somewhat in the way while moving about on the working platforms. Never the less these harnesses when properly used can be life savers.
They might well have been tethered to it, but the gondola itself is what fell. If you look at the picture, you are looking at only 1/2 of the original size. The other bit, with the workers (possibly tethered to it) is what fell to the ground.
I remember years ago speaking with an expat who made equipemen for cleaning towers here who said there is a varying degree of safety observed here. Hope he was wrong and very interested to see how the investigation proceeds.
I thought they are usually tethered to the gondola itself to prevent such accidents from happening?


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