Worker’s Legs Amputated After Roof Caves In

A construction worker had both his legs amputated at the knees on Wednesday night after a six-ton concrete roof of an unfinished restaurant in Phnom Penh collapsed on him as he prematurely removed its support poles, officials said Thursday.

Vorng Von, 26, was pinned under the collapsed concrete after using a hammer to knock away poles supporting the slab, which was built atop the new building’s wooden frame nine days before, said Boeng Kak I commune chief Horm Kea.

“When he worked and hit the supports, the concrete just broke immediately as he sat, and another man was lucky [to escape injury],” said Mr. Kea, who added that Mr. Von’s legs were pinned down for three hours.

“Our police and the workers tried to move the concrete but it was about six tons. Then the crane arrived and the victim was still alive as the concrete had not broken on his body,” the commune chief said.

At Preah Kossamak Hospital, doctors decided Mr. Von’s legs were so damaged they were amputated, he said.

Tuol Kok deputy district police chief Sem Piseth said two construction managers—Thoeun Thou, 42, and Leang Bun Leap, 44—were arrested and accused of unintentional violence for their role in the collapse.

Mr. Piseth said that the pair had ordered the temporary support beams removed before the usual 18-day period required for such a large concrete slab to set.

“The two have to be arrested and punished because they did construction carelessly,” Mr. Piseth explained. “It was very careless of them—although it was not an intentional case. If we let them go free, then next time they will never care about worker safety.”

District governor Ek Khun Doeun said construction on the new restaurant has been suspended.

“The construction has been stopped temporarily. If they get a new construction chief, and want to start again, then the experts from the Ministry of Land Management and district officials will check it first,” he said.

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