Three men were killed and six others injured after a Hong Kong crane collapsed at a construction site on Wednesday with rescuers trying for hours in vain to reach a victim trapped under the wreckage.
One man was certified dead at the site in Kowloon after suffering a skull fracture while another died after being rushed to hospital, authorities said.
Dozen of workers from the city’s Urban Search and Rescue Team worked around the crumpled tower crane, which had fallen onto multiple cargo containers used as temporary offices, trying to retrieve a third victim.
“We can only see the lower half of his body, and he was unresponsive when we tried to communicate with him,” fire services official Yim Ying-kit told reporters.
“(The crane) is quite heavy so we need various tools and risk assessment before we can rescue the trapped worker.”
Police later confirmed that the man was also killed.
The crane was in operation when it collapsed shortly before 11 am (0300 GMT) but was not carrying any load at the time, Yim said.
Some construction workers were in the cargo containers when the crane fell onto them, he added.
After inspecting the site, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun told reporters there was a clear problem with the crane’s base and ordered work to be suspended at the site.
Hong Kong leader John Lee said the labour department would investigate the incident and inspect construction sites using cranes to ensure they complied with safety standards.
Lawmaker Kwok Wai-keung, who represents the labour sector in Hong Kong, said crane collapses are rare in the city and called the accident a “major blow” to the industry.
The crane was installed in August and had been in use before Wednesday’s accident, authorities said.
The scene of the accident was part of a massive construction site for a subsidised public housing project that aimed to create 19,000 homes, the South China Morning Post reported.