Crane Accidents

Fear Grips School After Crane Hits Playground

04/27/01

Hong Kong

Students, parents and teachers of a Tin Shui Wai primary school are living in fear after a 10-metre-high crane toppled onto their playground.

No one was injured when the crane came to rest less than a metre above an area often crowded with hundreds of children. The accident happened over the Easter holiday.

But the school, just metres away from the Tin Shui Wai Westrail construction site, has accused the developer – the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation – of breaking a promise not to resume construction before putting extra safety measures in place.

Queen Elizabeth School Old Students’ Association Branch Primary School principal Chui Wai-ling told Sing Tao Daily – Hong Kong iMail‘s sister publication – that she was disappointed when the developer resumed construction after promising not to.

“On school days, hundreds of students would gather in that spot. Luckily there weren’t any students on the playground that day,” Ms Chui said.

“The KCRC promised they would not resume construction before setting up a thicker brick wall dividing the school and the site, but they have broken their promise.”

She said the developer blamed a “communication misunderstanding”.

Westrail KCRC yesterday denied construction had resumed without the school’s consent.

“The contractor was just moving the crane away. The employees who were responsible for the incident have already been fired,” a spokesman said.

On the morning of Saturday, April 14, the crane toppled over after driving over a pothole.

Ms Chui said the KCRC had removed the crane the same day and rebuilt the school’s outside wall, so she had decided to deal with the matter quietly. She said the KCRC had promised a few days ago to resume major construction only after reaching an agreement with the school and the parents on the building of a thicker wall between the school and the building site.

“In the meantime, they promised not to resume construction half an hour before and one hour after school, but they failed to keep their promise,” she said. Part of the playground had been cordoned off, and the school had ordered the students away from the area.

Ms Chui said the school would meet KCRC representatives this morning to try to find a solution. “I’m really disappointed that such a reputable company could be so irresponsible,” she said. “As far as the safety of teachers and students goes, I will not believe them any more.”

A Westrail KCRC spokesman said the contractor had conducted a review immediately after the incident and also reported it to the Labour Department.

Category: Accident Report

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