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Operators arrested in fatal crane incident

A family of five was killed when a crane dropped its load on their car in the Uttara suburb of Dhaka, Bangladesh on Monday.
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The incident occurred on the Bus Rapid Transit project, where a lattice boomed crawler crane was loading or unloading large concrete bridge sections from a transporter. It seems that the car was allowed to pass close enough to the lift that when the crane tipped, the bridge section came down directly onto the car. The occupants, Rubel Mia, 60, his wife Fahima, 40, her sister Jharna, 28, and two children - six year old Jannat and two year old Zakaria - all died in the incident. Amazingly Rubel Mia's son Hridoy, 26, and his new wife Ria Moni, 21, managed to escape from the car with minor injuries.
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The crane, an 80 tonne Kobelco 7080 rigged with the basic 12.19 metre boom, looks as though it was working at a radius of around eight to nine metres where it has a capacity of 24 to 29 tonnes. At the controls was the crane operator’s mate Rakib Hossain, 23, who had no training or experience. The operator Al Amin Hossain Hridoy, 25, was stood outside of the crane observing. The lift was also being supervised by of the main contractor China Ghezhouba Group.
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The contractor had commissioned IFS Con Bangladesh to supply the heavy equipment for the project. Not having a large enough crane in its fleet, it rented one from Build Trade Company, which apparently supplied a smaller crane than planned. It also turned out the operator Al Amin did not have a license to operate heavier cranes - he received some crane operator training in 2016, but has apparently only worked on two or three small scale projects since then and began work on the Rapid Transit project earlier this year, while his assistant joined him in May. Both ran away immediately following the incident.

The video below shows more from the scene.

The police have now arrested them and are questioning 10 people involved with the site - the operator and assistant, two men from the Four Brothers Guard Service who, one assumes, were responsible for keeping traffic away from the lift, a safety engineer from the contractor, the owner of IFS Con Bangladesh, as well as its managing director and head of operations, along with the marketing manager from crane owner Build Trade and two members from its administration office.

the 10 people arrested have now been charged with culpable homicide and death by negligence in a new case. Shahida Khanam, the wife of Ayub Hossain Rubel, filed the second case with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in Dhaka, bringing the charges under five sections of the Bangladesh Penal Code.

After hearing the petitioner’s plea, the judge ordered police to investigate the case, said Rakib Chowdhury, a court official. The accused will face life imprisonment if the charges are proven.

Vertikal Comment

Sadly, incidents like this are not uncommon in this part of the world, we have reported on numerous incidents on India’s mass transit construction projects which almost always involve corners being cut with the cranes lifting the concrete beams or bridge sections for the elevated part of the system.

The people who are usually arrested and blamed tend to be the crane operator and those on site. It is good to see in this case some more senior staff have also been rounded up. One has to think that the cost of these incidents must surely outweigh the money or time saved.