A 21-year-old worker was killed at a construction site in central Phnom Penh Monday after the top of his head was sliced off while he was riding in an external cargo elevator, officials said.
Eang Lom was transporting cement and floor tiles up to the ninth floor of the under-construction Aquarius Hotel and Urban Resort development at about midday when the accident occurred, according to Chuob Sokhun, chief of police in Daun Penh district’s Chaktomuk commune.
“The victim was sitting down in the elevator and he heard a sound and raised his head out of the elevator’s protective frame, hitting a metal bar,” he said, adding that Mr. Lom was killed instantly.
Another construction worker, Thun Vibol, said he and his 4-year-old daughter were riding in the elevator alongside Eang Lom. He explained that his daughter had been visiting the construction site and grew fussy, begging for a ride in the cargo elevator, so the pair decided to go up with Eang Lom—despite the fact that it was against company policy for anybody to ride in the conveyance.
Mr. Vibol said he looked over at Eang Lom after he heard a strange sound. “I saw him sitting still, with the top of his head missing,” he said, blaming the accident on Mr. Lom’s carelessness but noting that it was common for workers to ride in the elevator.
A man at the scene who gave his name only as Ty identified himself as a representative of the construction company in charge of the site but refused to name the firm. He also blamed the victim’s “carelessness,” but said the company would compensate his family.
Eang Lom’s 60-year-old father, Eang Phoeun, said his son had been working at the site for two weeks to earn money for the upcoming Khmer New Year holiday.
“I didn’t want my son to work like this because he knew nothing about construction, and I thought he would just be working on the ground,” he said through tears. “If I knew he would have to go up and down like this, I would not have allowed him to [work there].”