Source:The Herald Sun
A GROUP of schoolgirls narrowly escaped the partial collapse of a three-storey high scaffold in Melbourne today.
Police said high winds caused the building scaffolding to collapse on the corner of Collins and Exhibition streets in the city about 2.15pm this afternoon.
The scaffolding from the three-storey townhouse under construction was left as stack of twisted metal, as part of the structure was torn away.
Part of the scaffold collapsed on to a 4WD Toyota Jeep and brought down part of a tree.
A group of schoolgirls from Strathmore Secondary College who were walking below at the time said they were lucky to escape any injuries.
“We were just walking down the street, when a ladder fell out and nearly hit one of my friends,” Emma Brennan said.
“We had a good laugh about that. Then we saw the scaffolding coming down and heard creaking and people yelling, ‘run! run!’
“So that’s when we got out of the way, it was pretty scary.”
Another man was lucky to escape with torn trousers after the drama.
A large crowd of office workers from the Reserve Bank gathered at the site.
Police have cordoned of part of Exhibition St and closed traffic at the corners of Spring and Collins streets, Flinders and Exhibition streets, Little Lonsdale and Exhibition streets and the corner of Russell and Collins streets.
Worksafe investigators have begun an investigation into the accident.
Worksafe spokesman Michael Birt said the building was being painted and the scaffolding was apparently disconnected to “enable the painters to finish”.
“It appears that high winds caught the scaffolding and brought it down.”
“High winds can be anticipated in Victoria at any time of year, but should be especially anticipated in Spring,” he said.
“It’s amazing good luck that none of the four girls or any other pedestrians or passing motorists were injured or worse,” Mr Birt said.
The scaffolding facing Collins St is yet to be secured, leaving the corner of Exhibition and Collins St likely to be blocked until at least this evening.
Trams were also disrupted by the incident.