45-year-old died; was working on Fisheries Department project

A 45-year-old diver-cum-assistant crane operator died at the Kasimedu fishing harbour on Tuesday afternoon after a crane overturned, crushing him underneath.

The victim, M. Selvamani, was attaching ropes on the crane, which was on the wharf, to a large beam that had fallen into the sea. The rope became entangled in the crane as it could not pull the beam out, and the crane toppled over. The beam had to be removed as boats could not be parked alongside the wharf as iron rods were jutting out from it.

Sources said that Selvamani, ran into the crane’s path to move away a tricycle used to pump oxygen for diving, so that the crane did not crush it. He did not realise, until it was too late, that he was directly in harm’s way.

Realising that Selvamani had died in the accident, the crane operator fled from the scene. Angered by the incident, his relatives, other fisherfolk rushed to the spot and demanded action be taken against the contractor. Tension prevailed in the area for some time.

Selvamani was a resident of Anna Nagar in Kasimedu. He was engaged by a contractor, who has taken up the work to repair the wharf and relay roads, construct new toilets and fish auction halls and provide drinking water facilities — a project under the Fisheries Department.

He is survived by his wife Arasi, and a daughter. His wife said that the family had lost its only bread-winner in the accident. Sources in the Fisheries Department said the contractor had taken third-party insurance and was bound to provide compensation to the family. Another labourer, M. Kulandaivelu (35), who was also at the accident site suffered minor injuries and has been admitted to the Government Stanley Hospital.

Kasimedu Fishing Harbour police have registered a case under Section 304 (A) of the IPC (death caused due to negligence). No arrest was made until late Tuesday evening.

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