Video shows excavator operator run for his life as silo collapses the wrong way on demolition site

Video footage emerged today showing the driver of an excavator using a wrecking ball to demolish a silo in southern Taiwan abandoning his vehicle and running for his life as the 52-meter-tall structure started to fall in his direction yesterday, April 1.

Contractors working on the demolition project at the Southeast Cement Corporation site in Nanzi District, Kaohsiung City appear to have seriously breached regulations and safety standards in the lead up to the accident, Kaohsiung Public Works Bureau said today.

According to the demolition plan submitted to the Works Bureau, the cement silo was to be demolished in three stages. The plan stated that the contents of the silo would be emptied first, the equipment attached to the structure would be removed, and then the remaining concrete structure would be demolished top-down using demolition jaws to crush the concrete.

However, according to the video evidence, and the conclusion of the preliminary investigation carried out by the public works bureau, none of the steps outlined in the plan were followed. Instead, the contractors used an excavator with an extended boom and a wrecking ball attached to chop at the structure close to the base in a method that was described by Kaohsiung Municipal Public Works Bureau Director Chen Haitong as akin to “cutting down a tree.”

The contractor was ordered to immediately stop work, and issued a fine of NT$300,000 for violating safety regulations. Further fines of up to NT$770,000 may be issued pending investigations in breaches of construction industry regulations. The Environmental Protection Bureau also issued a fine of NT$5 million for causing serious dust pollution.

The accident caused serious disruption to the operation of Taiwan’s High Speed Rail service as the collapse of the silo knocked out a high-voltage power line supplying the HSR between Tainan City and Kaohsiung City.

collapsed power tower at demolition site
Collapsed 69,000 volt power lines after accident on demolition site.
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