Engineer charged for crane fall at Bangkok’s Assumption Convent School
21 June 2019
Police on Thursday charged a construction site engineer in charge of a project in Bang Rak district of Bangkok with negligence, after a tower crane tipped over and fell onto a nearby school, injuring 10 schoolgirls on Wednesday.
They have also issued an arrest warrant for the Cambodian worker who was operating the crane at the time. Nine of the 10 injured girls were discharged from hospital on Thursday, while one student who sustained severe head injuries was still being treated.
The engineer, 26-year-old Phattharakiat Sonthidetkun, was charged with negligence resulting in severe injuries, said Pol Col Duangchot Suwancharat, the chief of Bang Rak police. The engineer provided key information to the police, which led to them to issue an arrest warrant for the Cambodian worker operating the crane, said Pol Col Duangchot.
The worker, whose name was withheld, will face similar charges, he said. The Bang Rak district office, meanwhile, lodged a complaint with police against six contractors responsible for the work, accusing them of flouting the office’s order to suspend construction, effective April 1.
Police have contacted the six contractors. The main contractor, identified as Puttatecha Co, agreed to meet investigators on Thursday.
Another team of investigators was sent to speak to the parents of the injured students.
Worapol Udomchokpitim, who represented Bangkok Hospitality Co which owns the River Garden Hotel project, admitted construction was supposed to have been halted on April 1 following four incidents of construction materials falling onto the school’s premises.
The company is willing to take full responsibility for the injuries and the damage its project has caused, he said.
Mr Worapol, however, insisted that there were no migrants working on the project, and that he didn’t know the person controlling the crane was a Cambodian national.
Following the accident, the head of Bang Rak district office’s public works section was abruptly transferred while facing an investigation into why he didn’t know the project was suspended.
The Council of Engineers, meanwhile, has vowed to impose stricter regulations on construction site safety.
The council is also seeking to improve professional licensing requirements for crane operators.