A fatal industrial accident occurred in Austin Road West, West Kowloon this morning (24th), and two male workers, Kwok Gang Kee (61 years old) and Lau Ho-cheung (63 years old), were suspected of hydrogen sulfide poisoning. MTR replied to the "Hong Kong 01" enquiry that the incident involved the replacement of seawater cooling pipes for the air-conditioning system of the mall, and the air-conditioning contractor was responsible for the works; The place of work of the workers concerned is located under the site of the West Kowloon Cultural District.
MTR is highly concerned about the incident and is saddened. MTR extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of the workers who have passed away in the accident and has urged the contractors to assist and cater for the needs of the families. MTR is in the process of obtaining details of the incident with the contractor involved, has launched an investigation into the incident and will fully cooperate with the investigation of the relevant government departments.

In response to the inquiry of "Hong Kong 01", the Labour Department said that it was highly concerned about a fatal work accident that occurred in Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui this morning (24th), in which two workers were injured while working in an underground cooling duct and were confirmed to have died after being sent to hospital. The Labour Department is very saddened by the death of a worker in the accident and extends its deep condolences to his family.

A spokesman for the Labour Department said that after learning of the accident today, the Labour Department immediately dispatched officers to the scene of the accident to conduct an investigation. The Labour Department will issue a 'Temporary Suspension Notice' to the contractor concerned to stop any work in the cooling duct until it is satisfied that the contractor concerned has taken measures to eliminate the hazard before resuming work. The spokesman added that the Bureau is conducting investigations at full speed to determine the cause of the accident, find out the legal responsibility of the responsible persons and propose improvement measures. If the investigation reveals any violations, they will be dealt with in accordance with the law.

The incident occurred at about 24 a.m. today (7th), the police received a report that at a site in West Kowloon, 1 Austin Road West, 2 male workers fainted and were sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for rescue, both of which were confirmed dead. It is understood that two workers have been repairing channels on the ground yesterday (23rd), but they have not returned overnight, and this morning (24th) the manager called the police for help. Firefighters found two subjects at a depth of 6 meters underground, about 100 to 200 meters, and the scene information said that the concentration of hydrogen sulfide in the ground was high, and the deceased suspected hydrogen sulfide poisoning.

The fire department sent multiple teams of smoke caps to search for two workers, and the rescue situation in the pipeline was exposed. The underground pipeline involved is about 12 meters deep and has an endless length. The two dead were found between 100 and 200 meters of the pipeline, and by the time rescuers arrived, they showed no signs of life. Among them, the orange pipe is used for ventilation and exhaust. Looking through the data, hydrogen sulfide is the main component of biogas, and the anaerobic environment underground is easy for bacteria to produce biogas. Investigators are seeking out whether the exhaust system was functioning properly at the time of the incident.


Senior Fire Chief Cheung Ka-wai of Tsim Sha Tsui said that the Fire Services Department received a report at 7:33 a.m. that an incident involving suspected leakage of unknown gas and injuries occurred at a site in Austin West. Firefighters arrived at the scene 3 minutes later and deployed a total of 8 fire trucks and 2 ambulances. The site involved has an area of about 20 meters by 20 meters, and there is an underground pipeline about 200 meters long. Firefighters found the two injured unconscious 6 meters underground and were rescued by firefighters and transferred to an ambulance for hospital. He was referring to the cooling system (about 5 meters wide by 5 meters high) used to supply the air-conditioning air to the West Kowloon Cultural District. The difficulty of rescue lies in ensuring a safe environment on site, and pipeline gas needs to be pumped out synchronously between rescues.

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