SCMP Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Truck's salvage operation goes hay-wire


Updated at 5.06pm:
An operation to salvage a garbage truck that crashed, killing two people and injuring a third, went badly wrong on Monday when the crane-arm which was trying to lift the vehicle collapsed.
The garbage truck, which had been lying on the roof of a three-story block of flats in Happy Valley since it plunged off Stubbs Road early on Sunday morning, fell through a floor after the crane-arm broke off.
Police said driver Sze Chun-hing, who died in the crash, might have been speeding.
''We are still investigating the cause of accident, but upon preliminary examination, we believed the truck turned at a high speed and spun out of control,'' said Pang Yan-wing, Senior Superintendent, Traffic, Hong Kong Island.
''After examining the scattered refuse, we think the truck was carrying a full load when the accident happened,'' he said.
Injured 21-year-old, To Hing-sam, who was admitted to Queen Mary Hospital was still in a stable condition, police said.
Mr Pang said steel wires broke as the crane tried to lift the heavy load
''It's a difficult operation. The site is very narrow. We are going to cut off the broken arm and remove it with another crane. It may take us until tomorrow to get it fixed.''
Beng Cheong, Senior Building Surveyor, said two affected buildings of Village Terrace were sealed off. This follows the evacuation of around 30 residents.
''The outer walls of buildings number 15 and 17, which are facing the hillside, are potentially hazardous. All the flats from number 15 and some in number 17 were closed.
Environment and Food Bureau officers will visit the crash site to see if the refuse could become a threat to public health. Some of the rubbish caught fire last night.