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Removal Mens died in London. Knightsbridge balcony collapse: Two dead, six injured

Balcony collapse

 

Two men have died and six other people have been injured after part of a balcony collapsed in west London.

Railings on the balcony of a building at Cadogan Square, Knightsbridge, collapsed at about 10:00 GMT, London Ambulance Service (LAS) said.

Those killed were removal men who were moving a sofa, according to an MP.

Eight people were treated for injuries with one man dying at the scene and another dying after being taken to hospital, LAS said.

 

Collapsed balcony

Chelsea and Fulham MP Greg Hands tweeted: “Balcony collapse in Cadogan Sq. Just spoke with Cadogan Ests [Cadogan Estates, a property company], not their property, but believe balcony broke when the removal men were moving a sofa out and the combined weight might have broken it.

“Casualties were removal staff. My thoughts are with their families.”

Sudarma Rajapaksha, who works in a neighbouring building, said: “My colleague heard the noise, the sofa had fallen down.”

Raj Ramanoop, who was close to the scene at the time, said: “I was down the street there – a friend said there has been an accident and then the air ambulance came down.

“Then I knew something serious had happened. I heard that it was a sofa that was either going out or going in.”

Balcony

A neighbour, who wanted to remain anonymous, told BBC News: “They were trying to pull a couch up to the first-floor apartment with ropes. Was apparently too heavy. The fence broke off and fell on the workmen below.”

Sinclair Johnston, an engineer who has worked on another property in the square, said the decorative railings could not be depended upon to support weight.

He said: “These sort of constructions are always very fragile and the iron railings can rust and the stone can become fragile and break up so you never really know how strong they are. It’s something that engineers are very aware of.

“The ironwork is incredibly heavy so if it falls off it can be a disaster.”

A local resident, who did not want to be named, told the BBC that furniture and pianos “go in and out of the windows all the time” on the square.

Estate agent Clem Byron-Evans said: “In head leases it tends to say that you are not allowed to move furniture through the ground floor.”

He said the ruling was due to the ground floor area in similar properties being communal and residents would be liable for any damage.

Cadogan Square is made up of residential properties, with many of the buildings divided into flats.

The first-floor balcony is believed to have been connected to property number 37, a five-storey terraced building.

The decorative wrought-iron railing appears to have fallen about 3.6m (12ft) to the ground, although the stone base of the balcony looks undamaged.

A number of long ropes are hanging from the balcony to the ground where plastic sheets are gathered.

A police tent has been erected on the pavement below and the street has been closed to the public.

Resident Abel Damoussi said there was lots of building work taking place on the square and he had seen ropes hanging from the balcony.

He said: “There was a lot of noise, which we don’t usually have that early in the morning. It was only when I came out the building and found Cadogan Square cordoned off that I realised something had happened.”

Mat police

The BBC’s Andrew Neil, who is also a local resident, described the area saying: “You’d never know you’re in central London. There’s never any traffic. It’s so tranquil. A lot of people buy here to invest.”

Surveying company Select Services, whose employees were working nearby but not involved in the incident, said one of its workers had witnessed the events and was subsequently treated for shock.

He has been sent home to recover.

LAS said it sent three ambulance crews, an advanced paramedic, the hazard response team and a London air ambulance to the scene.

A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: “When we arrived we made the scene safe, securing parts of the iron balcony that had broken away in the fall.”

Police are in the process of identifying the dead men’s next of kin while an investigation is under way to establish the circumstances.

The Health and Safety Executive and police are investigating.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea said: “We are aware of a fatal accident in Cadogan Square.

“Police are in control of the scene and council officers will be on hand to assist if required in any investigation.”

 

Font: BBC News


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