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Two questioned over Koh Pich crane collapse

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
A piece of the arm of the crane that collapsed on Koh Pich. KT/Siv Channa

Phnom Penh police yesterday questioned two people over the collapse of a crane at a 47-storey construction site on Koh Pich island that injured a United States embassy staff.

Captain Sam Uth, chief of Tonle Bassac commune police, said Chamkar Mon district police first questioned the Chinese national, who is the owner of the construction site and the crane operator over the collapse.

“They are now being questioned by the commissioner of Phnom Penh Municipal Police,” Cap Uth said.

Colonel Bun Satya, chief of capital police’s minor crime bureau, yesterday said a court case is being prepared.

“We might send them to court tomorrow,” Col Satya said before declining to elaborate.

A spokeswoman for the US embassy Emily Zeeberg via an email said the embassy is cooperating with the police.

“The US embassy is relieved that a falling construction crane while causing damage to a vehicle, did not seriously injure a member of our community,” Ms Zeeberg said.

According to a witness who declined to be named, the crane was hoisting a water tank at about 8am yesterday when it collapsed.

“I got lucky because the crane did not fall on my grocery store,” the witness said.

Kat Narin, chief of Tonle Bassac commune, yesterday said the construction of the 47-storey building on Koh Pich has been suspended following the collapse.

“We have temporarily suspended the construction of the building,” Mr Narin said. “We will wait for the owner to compensate the US embassy staffer who was slightly injured.”

He noted the Land Management Ministry issued a permit for the building’s construction.

“We are worried for the safety of pedestrians on the street, especially mine,” Sao Chantha, a construction worker who works closeby said. “I ask that local authorities take measures to prevent such a thing [the crane’s collapse] from happening.”

“In my opinion, the crane collapsed because the water tank was overweight,” he added. “The crane might also be too old.”

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