A 23 year old apprentice has been killed in a building collapse at Perth’s Curtin University.
The accident happened at a construction site at the campus in Bentley about 12.30pm (AWST) after a glass ceiling caved in at a construction site located at the university.
Two other workers, both in their 20s, were also seriously injured and remain critical in hospital.
The young man who died fell 20 feet and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Western Australia police commander Mike Bell said two construction workers were on scaffolding carrying out work when it “suddenly gave way without warning and both fell over 20 metres to the ground”.
“The cause of that collapse is yet to be determined,” Bell said however.
“Police and emergency crews are working behind me to make the site safe at which point we can remove the body of the deceased and we can commence our investigation.”
Aerial photographs and video footage show a huge hole in the building’s glass roof, as emergency workers sift through the debris.
Aerial pictures from the news chopper – appears to be much more than a wall collapse. Glass ceiling has caved in at a new construction area. pic.twitter.com/E5HsyrGOgE
— Jerrie Demasi (@JerrieDemasi) October 13, 2020
The construction union said tradespeople who had been working on the building had been told to head home but many workers remained on the scene into the afternoon and gathered together as emergency crews assessed the damage.
CFMEU state secretary Mick Buchan said he had been made aware after the incident that there had been issues with “deflection in the structural steel”.
“Those issues were addressed by structural engineers … [but] I understand that there were some concerns,” he said.
Buchan said the union had not previously been aware of issues at the site but stated: “It’s 2020. These events should not occur in the building and construction industry.”
“Enough is enough,” he told reporters at the scene. “Something has got to give – another young worker has lost his life here today.”
Curtin University said the incident occurred at building 418 which is currently under construction. “The site is under the management of head contractor Lendlease,” a university spokesperson said in a statement.
“We have been advised that no Curtin students or staff were involved in the incident. Our thoughts are with all impacted by this accident.”
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