THE family of a dock worker, killed by a 50-kilogram sack of fertiliser which fell from a loading crane, has taken a shipping company to court claiming negligence. On November 5, 1988 Chu Kiu-chi was working as a stevedore loading bags of fertiliser on to a ship. He was standing in cargo hold No 3 of the MV ALSOD when the bag dropped 10 metres from a sling filled with the sacks. The force of the impact shattered his skull and caused massive internal injuries. His family is suing shipping company Giant Ocean Limited for compensation. The High Court heard how Chu, 39, was told to go into the ship's hold to inspect some sacks of fertiliser which had split open. While he was there, a sack fell from the net, landing on him. He was taken unconscious from the ship but remained in a coma, dying five days later. The company claims Chu could have protected himself by looking up, moving swiftly out of the way or wearing a hard hat. A fellow worker, Siu Pui-can, who was standing beside Chu, said he heard a thud and turned to see Chu lying on the deck. Beside Chu was a sack. 'It was but for sheer luck that Siu was not killed. He was only standing a metre away,' Ruy Barretto, for the family, said. 'Nobody in the hold was aware of any keep clear order. 'Since no one saw the accident, it is still speculative how it happened, whether the net was travelling too fast or it hit the side or tumbled.' The court heard how the giant sacks were piled in a disorganised way in the sling before it was lowered into the ALSOD's hold from an adjoining ship. Fellow workers told police they believed the bag slipped because the nylon sack was very slippery. Up to 40 sacks were piled in to the sling each time. Chu's widow, Chu Chun-fung, 46, now works in a Mongkok factory to support the two daughters and one son he left behind. The case continues today before Mr Justice Cheung.