A pick & carry crane dropped a large rebar cage onto a bus in Chennai on Monday, injuring two occupants along with the driver of a delivery truck.
The incident occurred in the Ramapuram district of Chennai, on a site of a flyover for the city’s Metro project. The crane had lifted a 9.5 metre long rebar column cage, from a truck parked in the road at around 4:00am in the morning. As the crane - which looks like a 23 tonne Escorts TRX articulated model - began to move with its suspended load and extended boom, it lost stability and tipped forward dropping the cage over the far edge of the truck and into the path of a passing bus.
There were eight people on board the bus, but thankfully only two were hurt, the driver and his assistant. The truck driver was also injured. The injuries they sustained are apparently serious and all three are still being treated in hospital.
The construction of India's Metro and Metrolite rail systems - underway in more than 20 of India’s larger cities - is impressive. They are progressing at an incredible rate and are naturally prestigious and expensive projects. And yet some of those responsible for building them are cavalier to say the least, when it comes to crane safety, frequently using cheap undersized or ill-suited cranes for the work, while traffic control is almost non-existent, even when there are people on site with responsibility for it. As a result, we hear of incidents not unlike this one, almost every week.
And yet all too often the only person blamed when such an incident occurs is the poor sap operating the crane.
At the same time, you have to wonder if the pockets of some of those responsible for organising the work are being ‘lined’? India is a sophisticated and increasingly prosperous nation, and this sort of attitude towards crane safety does it a massive disservice.