The operator of the crane that toppled and led to the death of a worker at Metro Rail’s construction site in Saidapet on Saturday, handled the machine faster than required and lost control mid-way, resulting in the accident.

This was revealed at the end of an investigation carried out by Gammon India and General Consultant, said an official on Wednesday.

The accident happened around 6.30 a.m. on Saturday, when a 70-tonne crawler crane capsized and crashed when the operator was attempting to shift a load, killing Ranjith Biswal (20) and severely injuring Tira Naik (19). Both were migrant labourers from Odisha.

As part of Metro Rail’s underground network in the city, a station is being built near Saidapet bus terminus as a joint venture between Gammon India and Moscow-based OJSC Mosmetrostroy.

Initially, the crane operator, Kathiravan (34) — who was arrested for the accident — shifted a 17-tonne weight at a radius of 10 metres, which is safe. But when he lifted a 22-tonne weight at a radius of nine metres, he swung the crane faster than necessary causing it to topple, said an official of Gammon India.

Though the crane operator too was trapped in the machine briefly, he managed to escape. The injured worker, Naik, was immediately taken Government General Hospital and his left leg was amputated; he was later shifted to a private hospital in R.A. Puram.

According to officials, Kathiravan has eight years of experience handling cranes in Dubai. He had been operating the machine at the Saidapet site for the past two years. He had also received training from one of the institutes approved by General Consultant and got his license approved. “But it was sheer carelessness that led to the accident,” said an official.

The crane was earlier used in construction work in Dubai. The cranes used on CMRL sites were routinely checked and certified by a third party once in six months, and this crane too was recently certified to be in good condition, said the official from Gammon India. The crane’s load indicator — that alerts the operator in case of excess load — was also checked and found to be accurate, the official said.

Compensation

The two workers involved in the accident were paid about Rs. 15,000 a month.

Depending on the insurance scheme the workers were registered in by the contractor, the compensation amount would be decided and paid to them, said a senior CMRL official. Last year, workers involved in accidents were paid nearly Rs. 7 lakh, he said.

RELATED NEWS

Metro Rail worker dies as crane topples January 11, 2014

More In: Chennai | News