3 dead, 3 injured after construction lift collapse

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3 dead, 3 injured after construction lift collapse


Firefighters and rescues carry wounded construction workers who were injured when a construction lift collapsed at a site in Sokcho, Gangwon, on Wednesday morning. [SOKCHO FIRE STATION]

Three workers were killed and three others injured when a construction lift collapsed at a site in Sokcho, Gangwon, on Wednesday morning.

According to firefighters, four workers were on the lift at the 15th floor at around 8:28 a.m. when the rails supporting it detached from a 31-story apartment building under construction.

Two foreign workers, who were on the ground at the time, suffered minor injuries and were moved to nearby medical facilities.

Around 30 firefighters and rescue workers were dispatched to the scene.

One of the construction lifts stripped off of the building as if it was cut in half, said a resident living in the area.

The Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency (Kosha), operated under the Ministry of Employment and Labor to guarantee workers’ safety, dispatched employees to investigate what caused the collapse.

There are three agencies that could have evaluated the lift’s installation including Kosha, the Korea Elevator Safety Agency and the Korea Industrial Safety Association, according to what a Kosha employee said to the Moonwha Ilbo.

The apartment building under construction began its groundwork on Jan. 11, 2017, and was scheduled to be completed this December.

It was reported that the building’s framework had already been completed and the workers had been removing a lift used to move construction materials.

A construction worker at the site shared his speculations with the JoongAng Ilbo.

“There is the possibility that a bolt fastening the mast shaped like a rail [that supports the lift] was loose, which led to the lift’s collapse,” said the construction worker. “Or, there is another possibility that the lift broke free of the rail because of a technical malfunction. There are various possibilities.”

The worker added that he heard the lift was being dismantled and the automated system that prevents the lift from going too high and also allows the lift to stop at certain floors had been removed on Monday.

This would have allowed the workers to manually go from floor to floor of the building, but without any safety precautions.

Police suspect the collapse was caused when the workers were removing the lift. They are investigating the exact cause of the accident.

BY PARK JIN-HO [jung.myungsuk@joongang.co.kr]
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