CHENNAI: A Metro Rail crane operator suffered 50 per cent burns after the crane he was working on touched a live wire near the St Thomas Mount Station on Saturday. The Metro Rail stretch between Alandur and Airport has been accident-prone.
Recounting the incident, Manoj, a Metro Rail worker, said he along with his colleague Munna got into the boom of the crane to plug the gaps on the elevated stretch near St Thomas Mount station.
“It was around 10.30 am and crane operator Umapathy moved the boom after we had finished the work to another place. As he was moving the boom, it came in contact with a live electrical wire. There were sparks. We found ourselves being lifted in the air and we blacked out,” recalled a shocked Manoj from Aurangabad.
It was plywood that saved the lives of Manoj and Munna, from Bihar. But Umapathy, from Uttar Padesh who has three years of experience as crane operator, was not that lucky. The impact of the boom coming in contact with 25 kv AC live wire was such that not only was the crane electrocuted but also the road below. Umapathy suffered 50 per cent burns on both his legs and is now under treatment in Balaji hospital.
Manoj said he and Munna were lying unconscious in the boom for nearly 20 minutes after which fire-fighters rescued them.
“While coming down, we were shocked to see the extensive damage. I would have never gone up if I had known that there was a live wire above,” he said.
A senior Chennai Metro Rail official said the incident was due to a safety lapse. “We will be conducting an enquiry as well as a safety audit of the work site. It would have been due to a failure on the part of one individual,” the official said.
Although the Larsen and Toubro contractor at the site refused to comment on the incident, sources said it was the firm’s lapse. The failure was in not ensuring that the electrification of the stretch between Alandur to OTA was shutdown while the work was being done.
“It was putting the lives of the workers at risk. They should have ensured that it was safe to do the necessary work,” said an engineer at the site.