Fri, Oct 01, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Six killed in Freeway No. 6 accident

INTERCHANGE TRAGEDY:To facilitate rescue efforts, the engineering bureau said it had requested assistance from the 10th Army Corps and from the fire department

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

A worker inspects the site of an accident in Nantou County yesterday. Construction scaffolding collapsed near the Beishan Interchange of Freeway No. 6, resulting in six fatalities.

Photo: CNA

Six workers died when scaffolding collapsed near the Beishan Interchange (北山交流道) in Nantou County on Freeway No. 6 yesterday afternoon, in the worst industrial accident since construction of the new freeway began.

The National Expressway Engineering Bureau (NEEB) reported that another three workers were injured in the accident and were being treated at the Puli Christian Hospital at press time last night.

At press time, rescuers were still trying to locate one other worker who was believed to be buried in the wreckage.

NEEB chief engineer Lu Jieh-bin (呂介斌) said the accident occurred at 1:45pm when the workers were installing a box girder in the westbound lane of the Beishan Interchange on the freeway.

“When they were grouting, the scaffolds that supported the box girder collapsed and the girder, scaffolds and the workers all fell from a height of 55m,” Lu said, adding that the cause of the accident was under investigation by the Labor Inspection Office.

He said reports showed that 10 workers were at the construction site at the time: three Taiwanese and seven migrant laborers.

To facilitate the rescue effort, the bureau said that it had requested assistance from the 10th Army Corps and from fire department officials.

Meanwhile, the bureau used large machinery and lighting equipment to continue its rescue efforts as night fell.

The Beishan Interchange is located between the Guosing Interchange (國姓交流道) and Ailan Interchange (愛蘭交流道) and will connect Freeway No. 6 to Provincial Highway No. 14 and County Highway No. 147.

Construction of the Beishan Interchange began on Jan. 19 last year and is scheduled to be completed by Jan. 13 next year.

The cost is estimated to be about NT$560 million (US$17.5 million).

Lu said the freeway section where the accident occurred is an overpass bridge that has tunnels at each end. The construction is dangerous by nature as the workers have to work on the higher scaffolds, Lu said, adding that the construction plan had been approved by the Council of Labor Affairs.

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