FIVE people died when a lift at a Kampala hotel construction site collapsed yesterday. The incident occurred at about 1:00pm when a lift carrying 15 workers and materials from the 9th floor collapsed at the third level as it descended to the ground, killing three people on the spot and injuring 12 others.
Later on two others died in Mulago hospital, bringing the dead to five.
Hilton hotel is being built by Aya Investments in Nakasero.
The Police spokesperson, Judith Nabakooba, identified those who died on the spot as Steven Mukisa, who was a carpenter/foreman, Nicholas Masete and Ivan Byaruhanga. The two who died in Mulago were Godfrey Oryeiwun, a carpenter, who died two hours later and Godfrey Basiima.
A list of the injured who were admitted to Mulago hospital was pinned at the causality unit to enable relatives and friends identify them.
The officer in charge of first aid and safety at the AYA site, Wilson Muwonge, who was attending to the victims at the hospital, said the accident occurred at about 1:00pm when everyone was rushing for lunch.
He explained that the 15 employees used the lift, which was meant for only 10 people, yet it had other materials.
I was at the ground level when I heard a big bang and later wailings. We all rushed to the scene and found the victims still struggling inside the lift, with blood spilling all over, he narrated.
Muwonge said he called the Red Cross team who provided ambulances to rush the injured to Mulago hospital. Mulago also sent an ambulance and a rescue team to help the victims.
The hospital causality unit was a bee-hive of activity as doctors and nurses walked up and down giving care and treatment to the victims, some of whom had broken legs, arms and multiple head injuries.
A group of shocked workers stood in groups at the construction site as Police officers led by the regional Police commander, Edward Ochom and the regional CID officer, Moses Musana, inspected the scene before obtaining statements from witnesses.
Pools of blood, broken helmets and shoes littered the first floor where the lift crushed.
The AYA chairman, Hamid Muhammad, said he was not at the scene at the time of the incident.
It is an unfortunate incident. The lift was overloaded by workers with some materials because they were rushing for lunch, forcing it to collapse, he said.
He explained that the lift had three notices inside warning against carrying more than 10 people when ascending or descending.
But they were 15 people inside, plus some building materials at the time of the accident, he said and blamed the accident on the negligent workers who he said failed to follow the instructions.
Muhammad said the company would compensate the victims and meet treatment costs for the injured. We shall take care of the families of the dead and compensate them and give maximum treatment to those injured because they are poor.
Aya human resource manager Arthur Hanyorwa said the company purchased foodstuffs and other items like medicine, towels and blankets for the injured because many did not have relatives to care for them. I’m now in town buying items for our injured people, he said on phone.
Hanyorwa added that the building was insured with Statewide Insurance Company.