Nine people, including two Chinese, were killed and two others injured on Thursday after a crane collapsed on a construction site in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, police said.
The crane crashed when a team of workers tried to dismantle it, said ZJCC, the Chinese construction company behind the project.
Seven Kenyans and two Chinese died in the accident, which also injured two people, said Andrew Mbogo, police chief of Kilimani district, where workers were building the 14-story dormitory.
The cause of the collapse was not immediately clear.
Eyewitnesses said they heard people scream when the crane crashed into the ground.
“We had lunch when we heard things fall and thought part of the building was going to collapse,” 27-year-old construction worker Michael Odhiambo told AFP.
“When we got there, we discovered that a crane had caught and crashed,” he said, adding that one of the workers escaped with his life thanks to a seat belt.
Josephine Matere, a grocer, described seeing the green crane swinging wildly as people clung to it desperately and their colleagues watched in horror.
“They screamed and watched their colleagues fall,” she said, showing a video of the incident.
Firemen arrived at the scene almost two hours after the bodies were taken to a morgue in a police car.
The injured would be treated in a nearby hospital, the police said.
ZJCC released a statement expressing condolences and promising a full investigation into the accident.
“We have now cordoned off the area and are working with the Kenyan Police Service and the Directorate of Occupational Safety & Health Services (DOSHS) to conduct further investigations into the incident in accordance with construction site laws and regulations in Kenya.”
The incident took place across from the Department of Defense headquarters, which is now guarded by the military police.
Poor construction and disregarded regulations have resulted in many of these fatal accidents in Nairobi.
The East African nation is experiencing a construction boom, but corruption has allowed contractors to compromise or circumvent regulations.
At least three people died in December 2019 when a residential building collapsed in Nairobi.
This incident occurred three months after the deaths of seven children and numerous injuries when their school was razed to the ground in an accident attributed to third-rate construction.
In April 2016, 49 people were killed when a six-story apartment building in the northeast of the capital collapsed after days of heavy rain, floods and landslides.
The building, erected two years earlier, was supposed to be demolished after it was declared structurally weak.