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Death toll in Visakhapatnam shipyard crane accident rises to 11

Eleven people were killed when a huge jetty crane crashed on them at Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), a Government of India undertaking, at Visakhapatnam on Saturday afternoon, the officials said.

Visakhapatnam District Collector V Vinay Chand told reporters that the accident happened when the workers were testing the load capability of the crane weighing 70 tonnes. The base portion and the overhead cabin got separated, resulting in the collapse of the crane on the ground with loud thud, he said.

All the 11 workers were crushed to death on the spot as they came under the massive iron structure.

There were 10 persons in the cabin of the crane including three employees of Greenfield company, two of Lead Engineers and one from Squad7, apart from four permanent employees of Hindustan Shipyard Limited.

“All of them died when the cabin crashed. The bodies of the victims have been retrieved and sent for post-mortem,” he said, adding that no one was injured in the mishap.

While one victim could not be identified immediately, the other 10 deceased were identified as R Venkat Rao, Chaitanya, Ramu, P V Ratnam, P Naga Demudu, Satyaraj, Shiva Kumar, P Bhaskar, K Jagan and K Prasad.

The collector, who inspected the mishap site, said that jetty crane was originally erected by Anupam Cranes of Mumbai two years ago, but had not been commissioned for regular operations as the company backed out.

Later, the HSL outsourced the operations of the crane to Greenfield Company, which co-opted Lead Engineers and Squad7 Company for maintenance operations. “These contractors have commenced the full load trials now and the testing was being done when the tragedy occurred,” Vinay Chand added.

Chand said the HSL had initiated an inquiry by an internal committee, headed by its Director (Operations), while chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has ordered an independent probe by committee of engineers, comprising heads of departments of civil, mechanical and electrical engineering of Andhra Engineering College, to investigate the cause of the crane accident.

“The committees will probe if there is any human negligence that caused the mishap,” the collector said.

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