Six injured in first major accident in Chennai

In the first major accident at a Metro Rail construction site in Chennai, one worker died and six were injured on Wednesday evening.

The injured were taken to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital and one of them is said to be critical with a spine injury.

The accident took place at the site near Pachaiyappa’s College after what Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) officials called a crane boom failure. The Pachaiyappa's College site is part of the underground stretch of Chennai Metro from Thirumangalam to Egmore, along corridor II.

The failure occurred as one of the giant cranes at the site was about to drop a nearly 25-tonne reinforcement bar – iron cage-like structure used in the construction of the diaphragm wall for the underground station – in the underground chamber. “Consequently, the huge iron bar fell from a height of 22 metres, when the seven men were stationed around the chamber,” said S. Krishnamoorthy, chief general manager (public relations), CMRL.

The worker who died was identified as Sindhu (30) and those injured were Ravindra (22), Sadiq (25), Imanul (30), Sonelal (20), Jainul (20) and Ajay (35) from Orissa, West Bengal and Bihar.

CMRL officials said the chamber was1 metre wide, 5 metres long and 20 metres deep. All the workers were standing around it when the iron cage came crashing down, dragging Sindhu into the pit. The accident is said to have occurred around 8.30 p.m. Soon after, senior officials from CMRL, and contractors executing construction work at that site – Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and China-based Shanghai Urban Construction Group (SUCG) – rushed to the spot. Siren sounds of several ambulances and fire engines could be heard.

Around 9.30 p.m., motorists going past the site sensed the commotion and began slowing down, causing a pile-up. Around 10 p.m., five ambulances zoomed out of the site, which was enclosed completely, with police and Metro Rail personnel preventing anyone else from entering. Immediately, all the floodlights that were on until then were switched off.

The labourers were first rushed to a private hospital after which they were brought to GH. Ajay Mohan Singh (35), who hails from Orissa, said he felt a load hitting him and then he collapsed. “When I regained senses, I was being taken to a hospital.”

CM’s solatium

Condoling the death, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced a solatium of Rs. 1 lakh to the family of Sindhu. The six injured would be given Rs. 25,000 each from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.