12/04/2006

NI company investigates scaffolding collapse

An inquiry is being launched after three workers were injured during the collapse of scaffolding on a Milton Keynes building site, managed by a County Tyrone construction company.

McAleer and Rushe officials and the Health and Safety Executive are investigating how the 14 storeys of scaffolding surrounding the hotel and housing site fell down.

Managing director of McAleer and Rushe, Eamonn Laverty, has blamed high winds on causing the scaffolding to collapse.

He said: "It was like slow motion, as one of the site managers described it.

"It took several seconds for it to happen, but then they immediately set about rescuing the three injured workers and the rescue team went to check to see if there were any other people trapped in the wreckage."

He added that this was the first time that such an incident had ever happened on one of their sites.

Around 200 workers were on site at Witan Gate when the scaffolding came down and it is understood that a number of others were on a break at the time.

One of the men injured during the incident remains in a critical condition, while the two others injured are reported to be "stable."

All building work has stopped since the incident and police are treating the site as a crime scene.

The scaffolding was erected as part of the construction of a new Jury's Hotel, which was due to open in June and a number of houses, which were also being built.

One eyewitness described how the scaffolding came down like a pack of cards.

(EF/SP)

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