The wife of one of two performers injured during an accident at a Mirror concert in Hong Kong last week has spoken about the moment a giant screen collapsed onto the stage, saying her husband’s fellow dancers had tried to lift up the monitor to save the pair.
The recording by Chang Tsz-Fung’s wife was uploaded to the Facebook profile of Catherine Lui, an education opinion leader, who has about 10,000 followers. Chang’s wife told the Post that her family had authorised Lui to release her account to the public, while they focused on taking care of the performer.
Lui said she was asked to speak on behalf of the performer’s family because several media outlets had “falsely” described Chang as having been discharged from the hospital with minor injuries. The Post has learned that Chang is currently undergoing treatment at CUHK Medical Centre.
“Chang could not see the LED screen when it was about to fall down … he ran forward and tried to help [Mo Lee Kai-Yin] when he saw it happen,” Chang’s wife said in the recording, referring to the other dancer who was injured during the performance.
“He tried to hold the screen, but it was too heavy and he fell under the screen.”
She said her husband ended up lying under a corner of the monitor after trying to push it away, managing to partially crawl out. Chang’s fellow performers then lifted the four-by-four metre screen up, allowing the 29-year-old to free himself while he was still conscious, she added.
After looking over at Lee, Chang started to feel dizzy, his wife said.
Lee, 27, is in danger of becoming paralysed from the neck down after being hit by the screen during the fourth night of Mirror’s concert at Hong Kong Coliseum.
Lui added that Chang’s head was hit by the screen, while his pelvis and thighs were also crushed. He will also have to eventually do daily physiotherapy, she said.
Meanwhile, sources have said that the investigation led by a bureau-level task force was hoping to determine the roles of all parties involved in the concert’s production.
“We are lining up interviews with related engineers and representatives from the contractor and subcontractors behind the installation of the giant video screen,” a government insider said, adding that officers aimed to determine whether all fixtures were properly inspected.
The source added that investigators could also interview members of Mirror, as well as dancers and production staff.
Officers from the force’s Kowloon West regional crime unit, alongside a government chemist, returned to the coliseum on Tuesday afternoon to seize several wires as evidence.
The source said the items included the two cables used to hold up the video screen before it collapsed onto the stage.
“The wires will be taken for examination to test their tensile strength,” he said, adding that the move was at the request of government chemists.
Meanwhile, sources said that a preliminary investigation by the government task force found that the contractor responsible for examining installations for the Mirror concert was not required to conduct nightly checks.
A source familiar with the investigation confirmed that United Technical Services was responsible for assigning an authorised engineer to check all the extra installations and structures before the first show, including six giant monitors hung above the stage.
In compliance with guidelines from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the contractor also signed a safety report confirming that all installations were safe on July 24, one day before the first show, the insider said.
But the source added there were no fixed guidelines that required the contractor to review the structures every night, adding responsibility for assigning technicians to check the set pieces could have rested with the concert’s organiser.
“It doesn’t mean that the current guidelines are wrong. Of course, there can always be improvements, but at this point, we cannot conclude there were omittances by any parties,” the insider said.
An employee from United Technical Services on Tuesday (Aug 2) morning told the Post that the company would not provide any comment regarding the incident as the matter was “under investigation”.
According to its website, the company has provided consultancy services for event and exhibition safety, as well as testing services for materials and mechanical equipment since the 1980s.
Authorities stepped up industry measures on Monday, requesting organisers to conduct daily inspection of the mechanical devices by a “competent person” whom the department would recognise as able to assure that he or she was working safely.
In an updated statement on early Tuesday, the department spokesman explained that “competent persons” referred to those with experience, adding “most arts groups can arrange qualified stage working staff, and registered professional engineers are not required”.
Following the ban on suspended mechanical devices at venues managed by the department, the AsiaWorld-Expo said that it would also adopt the measure.
It added that it would request qualified staff to conduct daily checks on set pieces installed by event organisers as part of its safety protocols.
The government source said the preliminary investigation had found no indication of “any criminal element in the incident”, but noted the inquiry was in the early stages and significant work still needed to be done.
“We won’t rule out all possible clues such as a human error or neglect of duty,” the insider said.
Cultural minister Kevin Yeung Yun-Hung had earlier said that an initial probe had found one of two metal cables used to suspend the screen had snapped in the middle of the performance, with one of the locks appearing to be “seemingly loosened”.