Typhoon Hato

Questions raised about gondola accident during Typhoon Hato

Video of suspended working platform smashing into residential flats goes viral on social media

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 August, 2017, 3:48pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 August, 2017, 4:29pm

A suspended working platform that smashed the windows of four residential flats in Hong Kong as Typhoon Hato buffeted the city on Wednesday could have been caused by negligence, the leader of a construction workers’ union said.

Videos of the scene at private residence Chatham Gate in Hung Hom during the height of Hato, have since gone viral on social media.

Lo Chiu-kit, a Kowloon City district councillor, said that according to information from the management office, two or three of the flats were empty at the time of the incident. He said he had been trying to contact the affected residents, who had not yet sought help from him.

Chow Luen-kiu, chairman of the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union, told RTHK on Thursday morning that negligence could possibly be involved in the case.

Watch: Typhoon Hato leaves trail of destruction in Hong Kong

“The suspended working platform was not securely fastened before the arrival of the typhoon. Even if it can’t be placed back in its original position on the building’s roof, the platform must be tightly secured,” Chow said.

He added that the Labour Department had issued a set of codes on the operation of suspended working platforms.

“Violation of the codes could be breaching the law,” Chow said.

In Hato’s aftermath, Hongkongers pick up the pieces, one rubbish bag at a time

An experienced operator of such platforms said on the same show that they were usually placed in a less windy location when not in use, and locked to prevent any movement.

The operator, whose name was pronounced “Yeung Ka-chun”, said: “The workers might have wanted to save time ... and just placed it on the podium after work.”

Yeung also accused the property management office of lacking awareness.

“Why didn’t they consider the suspended working platform when they knew the typhoon was approaching?” he asked. “Is the office experienced enough in handling working platforms [in adverse weather]?”