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Jinxed: How 9 Lost Their Lives In Kilimani Horror Crane Accident And Qwetu’s Line Of Tragedies

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Nine construction workers were crushed to death, and another slightly injured, on Thursday after a tower crane collapsed at a construction site in Nairobi’s Hurlingham area.

The victims, including two Chinese men, were in a group of ten workers dismantling the crane after concluding exterior painting works before it suddenly collapsed.

The horror accident, which happened at a Qwetu hostels site, occurred shortly after 12.30 pm causing people to flee in panic and confusion as they tried to comprehend the disaster.

The 14-storey students’ hostel, which is nearing completion opposite the Department of Defence headquarters in Hurlingham, is owned by Acorn Holdings.

70 metres

Eyewitnesses said they heard people screaming for help only to see the crane speedily tumbling down with its human cargo – from a height of about 70 metres above the ground.

“We were having lunch when we heard things falling and thought part of the building was coming down,” said Michael Odhiambo, a 27-year-old construction worker.

“When we got there, we found a crane had snapped and tumbled down,” he said, adding that nine of the workers died on the spot while one technician escaped with slight injuries.

It was a disturbing scene as nine badly mutilated bodies lay on the ground.

Full investigation

ZJCC Engineering and Construction Company, the Chinese firm undertaking the project, sent condolences to the affected families offering a full probe into the incident.

“We have since sealed off the site and are collaborating with the Kenya Police Service and the Directorate of Occupational Safety & Health Services (DOSHS) in conducting further investigations into the incident,” the company said in a statement.

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Preliminary findings indicated that part of the giant tower crane collapsed during its decommissioning, killing nine technicians – seven Kenyans and two Chinese.

This is the second fatal incident involving a Qwetu hostel project in five months.

Two workers died

In March, Acorn suspended construction at its project on Thika Road near the United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) after two workers died in a site accident.

The project – Qwetu Aberdare Heights – was 70% complete at the time of the incident.

After four weeks of investigation, the National Construction Authority and the Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health Services allowed the contractor, Wadia Construction Company, to resume work on site.

Details on the findings of the investigation were not released to the public.

Known for its purpose-built student hostel brands Qwetu and Qejani, Acorn has the largest purpose-built student housing portfolio in Sub Saharan Africa at over 3,000 units.

The company, which has raised more than Sh8.5 billion for student accommodation projects, is currently working towards the delivery of additional 7,000 units.


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