Crane collapse kills five in Cambodian border town of Poipet

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A construction crane in Cambodia’s northwestern city of Poipet on the border with Thailand collapsed yesterday, killing at least five people and injuring four others.

The crane was being operated on ground made wet by rain, rendering it unstable, said Chief of the Banteay Meanchey provincial police Ath Khem. He said the crane fell as it was lifting heavy concrete blocks, and described the accident as resulting from carelessness.

The crane fell on houses next to the construction site, killing the victims. No one involved in the construction work was hurt, he said.

Poipet, a major trading post, is a boom town with many places of interest patronised by foreigners, including many from Thailand.

In recent years, a fast-growing economy fuelled a construction spree in Cambodia. But the building boom has suffered from a number of fatal accidents, the result of shoddy construction practices and poor enforcement of safety standards.

In January, at least 36 people were killed in the collapse of a building under construction in the southern city of Kep, with 23 others rescued alive.