Three construction workers killed after elevator mishap

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A police officer guards the site in Daun Penh district where three workers fell 16 storeys to their deaths. KT/Siv Channa

Related Post : Families receive “small” compensation over workers’ deaths in scaffolding collapse

The bodies of three construction workers were pulled out from the rubble of an elevator shaft in the capital yesterday after the workers plummeted 16-storeys on Saturday.

Phan Kong, a construction worker at the site, yesterday said all three men were his colleagues at the 21-storey apartment building being constructed in Daun Penh district’s Srah Chak commune.

Mr Kong said that on Sunday night, construction workers opened the door to an elevator shaft due to a bad smell and discovered a leg buried beneath rubble. The discovery prompted the workers to call the district and commune police.

Yesterday morning, dozens of police were seen entering and exiting the site after taking hours to inspect it before pulling the bodies of the victims out of the rubble.

The three victims identified as 21-year-old Sok Sambath, 35-year-old Yem Tin and 31-year-old Thim Thirong. The bodies of all three were returned to their families yesterday.

Mr Kong said workers at the site suspect that all three victims died after falling 16-storey safter their scaffolding collapsed during the installation of an elevator.

“I received this information on Sunday,” he said. “Three of them fell down while they were welding on top of the scaffoldings.”

A foul smell led to the discovery of bodies in an elevator shaft on Sunday. Panha

Chhoeung Leng, a relative of Mr Thirong, yesterday said Mr Thirong’s wife is a garment factory worker in Phnom Penh and that Mr Thirong’s body will be returned to Kampong Cham.

Chham Sreymom, 59, an aunt of Mr Sambath, said she came from Kampong Speu province after a relative told her about Mr Sambath’s death.

“I regret receiving the information that my nephew died because of his work,” Ms Sreymom said.

Luy Toeun, Mr Sambath’s cousin, yesterday said he was informed his relative had gone missing on Saturday, but no one knew he was dead until workers investigated the foul smell coming from the elevator shaft.

“I haven’t seen my cousin’s body yet because I was not allowed to go in,” he said.

According to a Land Management Ministry document posted on a fence at the construction site, the it opened in 2017 and construction began last year. It belongs to Pa Vongsamphea and Pa Vongtithya, daughters of municipal council chief Pa Socheatevong.

Met Measpheakdey, spokesman for City Hall, yesterday said he is waiting for more information from local authorities.

“I have not received any details yet because local authorities are still investigating,” Mr Measpheakdey said, noting that he does not know who will be held accountable.

Major Kann Vannak, chief of Srah Chak commune police, yesterday said the men died on Saturday before declining to comment further.

Land Management Ministry spokesman Seng Loth declined to comment on the document posted on the fence yesterday.

When asked about the hundreds of workers living at the construction site, Mr Loth said the ministry previously issued a directive to prevent workers from living in construction sites.

“If workers were staying in the construction site, we will advise the owner of the construction site, but if they keep allowing it, we will take legal action,” Mr Loth said.

Despite increased rules and regulations set in place by the government for construction sites, they remain notoriously dangerous.

In June, 28 construction workers died and 24 others were injured after a building under construction in Sihanoukville collapsed.

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