Two construction workers in Hong Kong have plunged 56 storeys to their deaths, fire authorities said, after the scaffolding they stood upon snapped in two.
The accident took place on Tuesday as the pair renovated a residential building in the upscale Mid-Levels neighbourhood of the former British colony, one of the world’s most vertical cities known for its strong safety record.
“When fire officers arrived, the gondola (suspended scaffolding) at the 56th floor was broken. Half of it had fallen to a platform around five or six storeys from the floor,” a Hong Kong Fire Services Department spokesman said.
He confirmed that there was one male and one female victim, but had no other information about their identities.
“We located one dead person on the platform and the other person was found dead at a drain nearby,” he said, adding that a man on the ground sustained injuries to his hands when struck by falling debris.
Hong Kong police said they are investigating the incident.
Construction-related accidents are relatively uncommon in Hong Kong where last year 24 workers died while doing their jobs, according to the Hong Kong Federation of Occupational Safety and Health Associations.
But with eight fatal construction-related accidents already so far this year, the group’s president Victor Kwong said safety is an area of “growing concern”.
“There is more and more renovation work in Hong Kong which has many old buildings. The safety regulations are in place but are not always enforced,” he said.
Kwong added that it is time for contractors to improve safety procedures and awareness at work, including practical training for employees.
Hong Kong Labour Minister Matthew Cheung said the number of deaths related to construction this year is of “high concern”.