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UPDATE: Five workers killed, five hurt as crane collapses in Bangkok (video)

UPDATE: Five workers killed, five hurt as crane collapses in Bangkok

FIVE WORKERS were killed and five others injured when the top of a crane broke off and fell on them at a condominium construction site in Bangkok’s Yannawa district on Wednesday.

The investigation into the cause of the tragedy is already underway.

The accident happened at about 12:15pm on Soi 45 off Rama 3 road in Bang Phong Phang sub-district. The 60-metre top part of the crane hit the fifth floor of a building, which had been built up to the 13th floor, in the Lumpini Place Rama 3-Riverine project. Four male workers on the fifth floor fell to their deaths and another six workers were injured.

As police and rescue workers led by city police chief Pol Lt-General Sutthipong Wongpin reached the scene shortly afterwards, three seriously wounded workers were taken to two nearby hospitals while another two declined to go.

The number of injured workers was initially thought to be five but was later updated to six when rescue workers climbed up the damaged crane’s ladder to take down one more worker, who was trapped on the crane with a broken left leg. The wounded man was lowered by rappelling rope at 3.30pm and taken to Bang Pakok 1 Hospital. He was later pronounced dead.

A worker said he heard a loud noise, then saw a large volume of dust and when he looked up he saw that the top of the crane had broken off.

The scene was attended by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) deputy governor Chakkapan Piewngam and BMA Public Works Department’s Building Control Division head Noppadol Chaipanya.

Chakkapan said the Yannawa District Office has immediately suspended the construction of the 35-storey condominium building, which had obtained a construction permit last April.

Officials would next gather evidence to file a complaint against the construction contractor as there was no permission from the district office and the BMA Public Works Department for the crane to be operating at that level, said Jakkapan.

When the construction reached the 13th floor, the contractor arranged for another company to extend the crane on Tuesday in order to help in the construction of the 14th and 15th floors. On Wednesday was the first day that the crane was being used to the new height, he explained .

Opas Sripayak, the CEO of the condominium project owner, LPN Development PCL, claimed last night that the accident was caused by a flaw in the way the crane had been assembled by workers at an outsource company. He said his own company would provide financial assistance to the deceased and injured workers.

He also said the accident hadn’t caused any serious damage to the building.

City police chief Pol Lt-General Sutthipong said he had assigned local officers to investigate the case thoroughly.

No charges had yet been filed and were dependent upon a complaint being filed later by BMA Public Works Department officials.

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