Three people have died while a further six were injured yesterday when a tower crane collapsed on a building site in Hong Kong.
The incident occurred on a residential site for a Hong Kong Housing Society project in Sau Mau Ping, Eastern Kowloon on Wednesday.
The Yongmao tower crane collapsed from its base and was not lifting anything at the time. It appears that the failure centres around the crane’s counterweighted foundation. We understand that the crane has a hook height of around 30 metres and was rigged with a 35 metre jib.
Two men died at the scene while another passed away in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. One of the two who died on site was trapped under the crane and was not recovered until later in the day. The three men, an engineer, an engineer’s assistant and an electrician, were aged between 22 and 41.
Five of the six who were injured had been in the container cabins which the crane landed on, while another man sustained more serious injuries.
An investigation is underway. The secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun said: "We are going to issue a suspension order to stop the work of the three tower cranes in this construction site. The order will be in force until proof is given to the Labour Department that they are safe to operate once again, so there's no time limit to the suspension order.”
The contractor for the site is Aggressive Construction Company, a subsidiary of Great Harvest Group. Earlier today the Hong Kong Development Bureau restricted the company from bidding for construction projects until December 31, 2023. Its four other sites in Hong Kong were also checked with no violations reported.
Hong Kong’s chief executive John Lee has said that the inquiry led by the Labour Department and experts will investigate the cause of the collapse and look into who should be held accountable. The police force will investigate whether negligence was involved and submit a report to the coroner, adding that criminal investigations would be instituted if negligent conduct was found.
He also highlighted the fact that the authorities had submitted a bill to increase penalties for workplace safety violations, raising the maximum fine for employers who violate occupational safety laws from HK$500,000 ($64,000) and up to 12 months in prison to HK$10 million ($1.3 million) and two years’ imprisonment.
The following is a local news report from HK Reporter and footage from the South China Morning Post: