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Potential Lifesaver: Safety Belt Likely Prevented Tragedy for Hong Kong Worker in Deadly Scaffolding Collapse

The utilization of a safety harness likely played a crucial role in preserving the life of a female worker who was positioned on bamboo scaffolding encircling a tall building at Hong Kong’s former airport runway, as reported by the Post.

As the tragic incident unfolded, resulting in the loss of two other workers, the 51-year-old woman, identified as Li, was engaged in the installation of aluminum plates and glass on the outer wall of the 19th floor of the structure, measuring 15 by 8 meters (49 by 26 feet) at the city’s former Kai Tak Airport runway.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Li plummeted along with the scaffolding that collapsed on Tuesday afternoon.

“Preliminary findings suggest that Li was equipped with a safety belt at the time of the mishap,” the source revealed.

imageA photograph by Dickson Lee captures a worker setting up scaffolding at Sun Hing Building in Mong Kok.

Her survival was described as miraculous, with the safety harness potentially preventing her body from a direct impact with the ground, ultimately contributing to her rescue.

Despite the truss-out scaffolding cascading 19 floors to the ground, it remarkably remained intact without shattering into fragments.

Upon the arrival of emergency responders, Li was one of the five injured workers discovered beneath the bamboo structure. She was promptly transported to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei in a critical condition.

The remaining four individuals, comprising three women and one man, were engaged in cleaning tasks at ground level when the scaffolding collapsed upon them.

Tragically, two of the workers, aged 54 and 68, were trapped beneath the structure, succumbing to their injuries despite efforts to extricate them.

The two survivors, a 45-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman, sustained injuries to their limbs and heads. They were subsequently transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where they were reported to be in stable condition.

Authorities have deployed detectives from the Kowloon East regional crime unit to collaborate with various agencies and specialists in determining the root cause of this fatal accident.

Chief Inspector Kwok Ching-yee emphasized that should human error be identified as a contributing factor, law enforcement will launch a criminal investigation and pursue legal action.

On the following day at approximately 11 am, investigators from the Kowloon East regional crime unit, accompanied by personnel from the labor and building departments, conducted an on-site inspection at the Kai Tak location.

The site is designated for the Pano Harbour housing development, consisting of 582 residential units by China Resources Land (Overseas) and Poly Property Group. The flat sizes range from 371 to 4,850 square feet, with construction slated for completion within the current year.