A six-year-old girl was fighting for her life last night after she was struck on the head by debris from a 500kg air conditioner that fell 22 floors from a crane and smashed into the ground in Mid-Levels.
The child was in a critical condition after surgery at Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam. She was among 20 Primary One pupils from a Kowloon Bay school who were waiting with teachers for a bus home at about 11.45am yesterday after an outing to the Zoological and Botanical Gardens in Central.
They were 10 to 20 metres away from the 24-storey Coda Plaza commercial building off Garden Road, where the one cubic metre unit was being lifted from the ground to the roof.
"When reaching outside the 22nd floor, a steel cable snapped and the machine fell down. It hit the ground, damaging the pavement and an underground water pipe," Chief Inspector Chen Chi-cheong said.
The youngsters ran for cover but two girls aged six and seven were hit by flying fragments.
"One of the girls suffered serious injuries after being hit in the head and the other was slightly injured in the legs," Chen said.
Another classmate needed medical treatment for shock.
A witness said there was a loud bang and then he heard girls crying. "One of the girls was bleeding from her head but she was conscious," he said.
All three were taken to Queen Mary Hospital. The other two were discharged.
Officers arrested a 58-year-old man who was in charge of loading work at the scene. He was being held for questioning and had not been charged.
"We are investigating whether it was a mechanical fault or human error and whether working procedures went wrong," Chen said. Police will work with Labour Department occupational safety officers on the inquiry.