The accident occurred on August 1, 2020, in a shipyard situated in Vishakhapatnam, a city in southeast India.
The dockyard handles ship and submarine construction along with onshore and offshore projects.
The crane which weighs 70 tons, was constructed in 2018 but it had not been operational ever since. The structure was undergoing a loading test when it overturned and collapsed on the ground killing 11 workers.
According to unofficial reports, there were about 30 people at the scene when the crane failed. The victims were occupied with the crane's operation and were standing near it at the time of the failure. Several laborers were also hospitalized with injuries. A part of the shipyard was closed due to the incident.
Loading tests are part of a trial run that is conducted before a crane can be declared operational. The specific tests were carried out to assess the load bearing capacity. Tests were conducted in 50% and 60% of the ultimate design load in the past days and the final trial, under which the facility collapsed, was carried out at 100% of the design load.
A rescue operation initiated after the structure gave way. The team which included police officials and an ambulance, attempted to separate the vast parts of the crane that were assembled together in order to remove the heavy mass. According to updates, no additional victims were found trapped under the crane's debris.
According to Vinay Chand, Visakhapatnam District Collector, the collapse was associated with a structural failure between the base and the cabin of the crane. When those two parts were separated, the entire facility gave way resulting in the tragic incident. “A new crane was being commissioned. A trial run was being conducted to bring it into full-scale operation. We have also ordered inquiry both from within Hindustan Shipyard and also a high-level committee from the administration,” Chand, stated.
The causes of the structural failure are currently under investigation. The Indian Government is also conducting an additional probe to find if there were any signs of delinquency. “My thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Departmental Enquiry Committee has been instituted to establish the causes leading to the accident,” Rajnath Singh, the Defense Minister of India, stated.
According to Deutsche Welle, many industrial accidents have been reported in the dockyard during 2020.