Thursday, August 28, 2008

ISA HK/China --- HK Tree News (Tree Failure in Stanley causing Fatality)


*** Our weekly Station Mail is for the information of Station Members only, but Station Mail has given up copyright & can be freely circulated. For administrative reasons, comments from outsiders are usually not entertained & may be circulated within our system locally & overseas. Please note Station Mail is sometimes given in Blog at http://isahkchina.blogspot.com/ , although images are usually not attached due to size. ***

Dear Station Members,

This Station has received enough messages & phone calls to demand a Station Mail on the hot topic of the killing Erythrina in Stanley on 27.8.08 from Station Members & media. Please kindly note ISA HK/China is a research & education organization only. We do not take side for anybody, & the information given in this Station Mail will take the attitude of an Independent Practicing Arborist (IPA) to be impartial, fact-finding & truth-telling under the details gathered by this Station.

Before anything else, ISA HK/China would like to mourn the victim of the event with grief, who was a 19 year old fair lady having a bright future ahead of her. We wish to offer our deepest condolence to her family & pray for her soul to rest in peace in heaven.

It must also be stated that the Station Manager issuing this Station Mail has not been on site, & has never seen or touched this fallen tree before the failure. Therefore, anything written down here would come from media reports only & shall be deemed as invalid for any legal or professional investigation.

From information gathered so far, it appeared that this tree failed on a calm sunny afternoon without warning to hit the passing crowd underneath causing fatality. This tree was claimed to have been inspected by a Govt Dept only a few days before the failure. It was also said to have undergone Tomograph for decay, & was quoted with result as 'acceptable'.

The remaining parts of the fallen tree were quickly removed for any post-mortem investigation. Without such, it would be hard to study the failed portion & to determine whether the branch was failing out of heavy end-weight, or from an internal decay with crack development eventually leading to breakage. Post-mortem is vital to assess the cause of the failure & without such, much of the comments here would become guesswork & IPA must not guess but state from facts.

Wind damage might not be a direct cause for the branch breakage as the weather during the failure was sunny & calm. Tree Experts suspected Erythrina Gall Wasps had weakened the tree but again, shell thickness would need to be determined against end weight & tree structure. Decay development, internal cracks, canker damage & branch structure would all need to be assessed for a probable explanation. Any of the above would require measurement of the tree before failure & after failure. It would be like forensic experts examining a murder case. Playing Tree Detective is part of IPA work.

Therefore, in view of the lack of measurements & technical details before & after the failure, for any responsible IPA, no conclusion regarding the cause of the failure can be easily drawn except this tree had failed in an unexpected circumstance. This Station is very sure that no Govt Dept in any civilized world would like to see a tree to fail to kill a civilian. Whether the incident involved Negligence or not, it would be up to the Court to decide.

While we mourn the deceased with pain, we may at the same time need to look for the future to avoid similar incident. Our Tree Professionals may wish to remind our authorities to divert extra resources to pick out those Mature Trees which have turned into Time Bombs already in our city. IPA may be deployed to provide third party opinion to explain to the public. More work will need to be done.

ISA HK/China does not look forward to issue Station Mail of this kind with grief, & sincerely wish our trees can be our assets instead of liabilities in our loving city.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

The ISA Mission - Through research, technology, and education, promote the professional practice of arboriculture and foster a greater public awareness of the benefits of trees. (http://www.isa-arbor.com/)

赤柱樹王「解體」擊殺女大學生


(星島)8月28日 星期四 05:30


(星島日報 報道)赤柱 昨午發生巨樹倒塌殺人慘劇,一棵屹立赤柱大街逾百年樹王「刺桐」,疑被真菌侵蛀,病入膏肓,不時傳出臭味,颱風「鸚鵡」襲港後,康文署 亦曾到場檢驗,未有任何發現,豈料事隔四天,該樹突解體倒塌,約一噸重樹幹,壓中一名與男友人逛街的十九歲醫生世家少女,當場爆頭吐血慘死,另兩名女童手腳受傷。


  百年樹王倒塌,釀成一死兩傷。慘死少女莊頌賢(十九歲),出身杏林世家,就讀本港一所著名大學,父及姊皆為醫生,其姊在東區醫院 當值,目送胞妹送院不治,不禁傷心欲絕;至於兩傷者是一對表姊妹,分別姓黃(十二歲),姓蔡(十一歲)。


  兩小孩逃厄運僅輕傷


  負責保育肇事樹王的康文署,晚上在記者會上向死傷者及其家屬致歉,並通宵鋸走塌剩的其餘一半樹幹,及查勘附近其他大樹,以防慘劇重演。


  倒塌大樹為一棵樹齡超過一世紀的刺桐,屹立赤柱大街二十六號新城樓對開路中心,是康民文古樹名冊中全港五棵刺桐古樹之一,高約二十三米,樹幹粗約一點五米。


  街坊稱,樹王約在兩年前開始,疑被蟲蛀及真菌侵蝕「生病」,樹幹穿洞及發臭,曾要求鋸走被拒,康文署上月曾派員查勘,至上周六颱風「鸚鵡」襲港後,康文署亦曾派人到場檢驗。


  逾百歲刺桐高23米


  昨午四時許,莊女與男友到赤柱市集觀光閒逛,據目擊者稱,當時途人熙來攘往,莊女與男友,面向樹王而行,兩名黃姓、蔡姓表姊妹則隨着黃母,背向樹王而行。


  詎料,樹王在毫無先兆下突然倒塌,樹身由中間斷裂、從上而下斷為兩截,其中一截高約五、六層樓的樹幹,在底部斷開倒下,恍如「泰山壓頂」倒下。


  途人驚聞「嘞……嘞……」聲響,抬頭仰望,驚覺大樹倒塌,連忙大叫「冧樹呀,走呀」,十多名路人爭相逃命,但莊女走避不及,被重約一噸的樹幹打中頭部,當場頭破血流,重傷吐血昏迷,壓在樹幹下奄奄一息,其男友雖逃過大難,亦被嚇至目瞪口呆。


  少女爆頭 吐血昏迷


  兩名表姊妹亦被塌下的樹枝擦傷手部及腳部,樹幹倒下時亦擊毀兩旁多間店鋪簷篷及帳簿,以及一住宅的窗門玻璃,發出「嘭、嘭」巨響,樹幹着地再斷裂,樹枝、樹葉及樹幹覆蓋整條路面,雜物散布四周,情況混亂,街坊報警,一名外籍男遊客及多名途人跑來協助搶救,附近一間診所一名仁醫及護士亦趕來救人。


  身旁男友 目瞪口呆


  警方與消防員趕至,合力抬起已斷開樹幹,救出被壓重傷莊女,由救護員急送東區醫院搶救,其男友及仁醫亦陪同送院,仁醫在途中繼續搶救她,但莊女送抵院後證實不治,兩名受傷表姊妹,送院治理後出院。


  警方封鎖現場調查,康文署人員鋸斷樹幹,將樹木及樹葉運走,晚上在塌剩的半截樹幹旁蓋搭鐵架,準備通宵將仍屹立未倒的半截樹幹鋸下。
  
赤柱百年老樹殺準港大生 康文署上月底列狀况「可接受」 5天前檢查無異樣


(明報)8月28日 星期四 05:10


【明報專訊】赤柱 大街一棵收錄在古樹名冊的百年刺桐,5天前經康文署 人員檢視證實狀况正常後,昨午在毫無先兆下突然倒塌,變成「殺人樹」。事發時,23米高的樹幹和樹枝如死神魔爪般直撲路面,粗壯樹椏擊向一名生於醫護世家兼為準港大生的19歲少女,事主頭部大量流血當場昏迷。附近一名醫生聯同一名護士趕至,立即替傷者急救並陪同送院。少女送抵東區醫院 時,在院內工作的姊姊已趕來相迎,惜摯親最終不治。事件中另有兩名女童遭樹枝擦傷手臂,並無大礙。


醫生之女 聖保祿畢業


被樹壓死的19歲少女莊頌賢(洋名Kitty),在銅鑼灣 聖保祿學校畢業;其父為執業20多年的內科醫生莊堅琪,胞姊任醫護人員。莊女已獲香港大學 取錄為經濟及金融系新生,8月5至7日到港大出席迎新營。其師兄表示,Kitty為人叻女、聰明活潑,僅認識幾天已與大家打成一片,眾人聞噩耗後十分傷感。至於受傷的兩名女童分別姓黃(12歲)及姓蔡(11歲),敷治後出院。


塌下的刺桐位於赤柱大街26號,樹身呈「Y」字形,高約23米,據悉早年枝葉茂盛,近年有蟲患而致枝萎,多名區議員表示,2006年接到居民投訴,指樹身傳出惡臭,已將問題向康文署反映。長春社保育經理兼康文署樹木專家小組成員蘇國賢稱,去年底曾檢視該棵刺桐,當時已發現樹身受害蟲「姬小蜂」入侵,當時已向康文署提出,詎料終釀成悲劇。


兩年前刺桐發臭 樹身發現動物遺留物


康文署長周達明承認年多前曾收到關於該棵刺桐的投訴,當時發現有動物遺留下的東西,但洗樹後,近期並無有關臭味的投訴。該署的專家小組亦沒有提出要移走該棵樹的建議。


周達明對事件表示極度悲痛,並向死者家屬致以深切慰問,會循既定機制處理賠償問題。他指出,塌下的刺桐已被列入古樹名冊,每半年會詳細檢查一次,每星期亦會巡查。當局今年7月31日為其做聲納檢測時,發現樹身狀態屬「可接受」(acceptable)。早前颱風襲港後,職員上周六(5天前)曾巡視過大樹情况,沒有斷枝或異常落葉,未有發現倒塌危機。


周達明說,署方將成立專家小組深入調查,當中有外界樹木專家參與。而目前本港有逾500棵古樹,局方會於未來一個月集中資源作詳細勘查。


事發於昨午4時32分,莊女與男友人到赤柱閒逛,兩人走到赤柱大街12號對開時,刺桐樹突迎面塌下,莊女頭部被樹枝重擊,身體被大量枝椏重壓,站在旁邊簷篷的朋友無受傷,但看到莊女頭部大量流血即時呼救。數米外的兩名女童亦被樹枝割傷。塌樹後,多名途人爭相走避,現場一度出現恐慌氣氛,有人即時到數十米外的赤柱公立醫局求救,一名醫生帶同護士趕至,連同消防員跨過樹木殘枝,即時為莊女做心外壓急救,其後更陪同傷者送院,莊女的男友人亦有同行。


莊女送抵東區醫院時,其姊姊站在救護車前,焦急地呼籲傳媒讓路,高叫「唔好阻住搶救生命」。傷者被送往急救後,其姊雖一臉焦急,但仍安慰妹妺的男友人「你唔好自己怪自己」,惟莊女於下午5時42分證實不治。匆匆趕來的莊母得悉喪女噩耗,傷心痛哭,要由親友攙扶。

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