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Sep 13, 2019

2 Dead, 6 Injured as Scaffold Collapses Inside Civic Center

A tragic accident occurred before noon today inside the Belize Civic Center; two persons succumbed and others were injured and in a critical condition at the K.H.M.H. While the number of injured men has been varying, it has been confirmed that four sustained injuries resulting from the fall. The group of men was standing on a metal scaffold elevated fifty feet high when the structure gave way. They plunged to the ground from that altitude and the two workmen died instantly. The men were working without any harness. They workers were contracted by Del Knox Construction to install padding on the roof in the court area of the thirty-three million dollar facility which was inaugurated in December 2017. The insulation is to improve sound quality inside the facility. Here is News Five’s Isani Cayetano.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Two persons are confirmed dead and six others are critical at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, following the collapse of a scaffold inside the Civic Center this morning.  For the past few weeks, a team of workmen has been occupied fitting insulation into the roof of the building and were elevated approximately forty feet above the court when the metal framework gave way.  Eight of them, including fifty-nine-year-old Roque Jimenez and forty-two-year-old Charles Hyde plunged to the floor below.

 

Voice of: Ervitt Jones, Eyewitness

“I just mi di cut up insulation di send up pan di rope, sudden one I sih dehn bally di fall down affa di ceiling pan di roof.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“These men were on a scaffold?”

 

Voice of: Ervitt Jones

“Yeap.  Yes sir.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“How many of them did you observe working on the scaffold?”

 

Voice of: Ervitt Jones

“I noh sure, at least about five ah dehn drop though.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Did you run to their aid when you saw them fall onto the ground?”

 

Voice of: Ervitt Jones

“No, I run fi safety, then I come back, yo geh di sense.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“And when you came back, what did you observe?”

 

Voice of: Ervitt Jones

“I just sih man just di lay out.”

 

News Five understands that a contract to install the padding had been awarded to Del Knox Construction and work has been ongoing for roughly a month.  A labourer who had just taken a short break told us what he saw upon returning to work.

Voice of: Construction Worker

“All I could tell yoh, we mi di work up deh.  We dah wire man and we pack insulation and thing.  I come down fi wahn five minutes fi go da di shop go buy wahn lee water and wahn lee cigarette and thing and by the time I come back I get the story that several people drop affa di scaffold.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“What was the immediate response in terms of either calling for the ambulance or calling for the police?  What happened immediately afterwards?”

 

Voice of: Construction Worker

“Well weh happen immediately afterwards, well we try gather di injured person and we try put dehn eena some truck and try rush dehn dah hospital because di ambulance, ah noh know weh di go ahn wid di ambulance, di ambulance tek long fi cohn.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Describe to me, to the best of your ability, the extent of the injuries in terms of the persons you saw who were hurt.”

Voice of: Construction Worker

 “Well di way I see it, several persons get injured, broken ribs, probably dead and buss head and dehn thing up deh.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Give me an idea more or less how high the scaffold is or how high the ceiling is where you guys were working.”

 

Voice of: Construction Worker

 “Bout fifty feet, fifty feet up.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“And these are metal scaffolds, wooden scaffolds?”

 

Voice of: Construction Worker

 “Metal scaffold build with some board scaffolds above it, with plywood.”

 

According to Ervitt Jones, who witnessed the mishap from the ground below, he observed Jimenez with massive head and body injuries.

 

Voice of: Ervitt Jones

“I just sih old bwai, I noh really rememba weh ih name. I just sih ih look like fu he whole skull look fi come off, yoh get di sense.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“You said you observed about five persons, right?”

 

Voice of: Ervitt Jones

 “I just sih bout five ah dehn pan di ground, yoh get di sense.  I neva gaan too close because…yoh get di sense.”

 

News Five spoke with Apex Belize Limited which manages the Civic Center.  We were made to understand that a notice of tender, as well as the subsequent contract was put out by Belize Infrastructure Limited to have the insulation work done.

 

Reporter

“So it could have perhaps been a situation where there was too much weight on the scaffold itself as to why it gave in?”

 

Voice of: Construction Worker

 “Well I cyant seh da too much weight because we had like over twenty-odd workers weh mi di work pan dehn thing and ih start to get less.  So like bout fifteen workers.  So I noh think da di weight, but probably how dehn build di scaffold, di material weh dehn use.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now why were the police called in?  I know this is an accident, it wasn’t planned for, but why were the police called in earlier?”

 

Voice of: Construction Worker

 “Dehn da di nearest person, emergency, weh coulda help we right now because ambulance neva… When we call fi ambulance dehn seh no ambulance no deh, so di police da mi di best situation fi use.”

 

Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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