An initial investigation into the horrific accident at popular boy band Mirror’s concert that severely injured one of their dancers found that it was caused by the snapping of a steel cable holding up a large video screen, the Hong Kong government said on Friday.
Authorities added that they will allow the dancer’s parents, who are flying in from Toronto, to temporarily leave hotel quarantine to visit him.
Speaking to reporters, Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung said the two dancers who were injured were still in the hospital following the accident at the Hong Kong Coliseum, which is managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
“The incident involved a relatively big video screen, which was held up by two steel cords. An initial investigation showed that one of the cords snapped, resulting in the screen falling [onto the stage], injuring the dancers,” he said.
Local media reported a 27-year-old male dancer suffered paralysis in all four limbs, brain hemorrhage and cervical spine fracture, adding that he was currently undergoing a seven to eight-hour surgery, which is expected to last till tonight.
Organizers earlier said he was in intensive care but was conscious and able to communicate with the doctor.
They added that the other injured dancer suffered slight scratches and pulled some muscles.
Yeung reiterated that he has requested the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to set up a task force, led by an assistant director of the department, to investigate the cause of the accident and to follow up on it.
He added the department will also work with the Labour Department, Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, and experts to probe the matter and study how they can make future performances safer.
The secretary estimated the investigation will take a few weeks, but he said the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will work with hirers at all its venues to check their stage design to prevent dangerous equipment from being used on stage in the meantime.
Secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun noted that his colleagues have been investigating and collecting evidence regarding the accident.
He pledged to take necessary follow-up action under the law, including prosecution, against those responsible for the mishap.
Sun added that his team has issued a stop work order, which requires the stoppage of all work under the hanging screens.
“I know a lot of the audience and residents feel uneasy and upset after watching videos [of the incident],” he said.
The secretary urged those with such feelings to speak to their friends and family, adding that there are organizations offering counseling services.
The Hong Kong Red Cross earlier posted on its Facebook page that its emergency psychological support service, Shall We Talk, has been activated and is available for the public.
Members of the public can call 5164 5040 for the service, which is staffed by professional psychologists and trained volunteers and aims to provide assistance to anyone who is disturbed or affected emotionally by the incident.
The service is available till 10pm on Friday and from 10am to 6pm on Saturday.
The public can also contact the Hong Kong Red Cross via WhatsApp on the same number or Telegram (@hkrcshallwetalk) for appointment service.
Sun said that those who need help can also call the Social Welfare Department hotline at 2343 2255.
When asked by reporters who would be held accountable for the incident, Yeung said that the Leisure and Cultural Services Department had made an agreement with the hirer on the arrangement of the performance.
“The hirer has the prime responsibility to make sure that all the set-ups are safe, both to all the performers as well as to the audience. In particular, for any particular set-up on the stage, they have to have a professional registered engineer to certify that the set-up is safe for that purpose,” he said.
But Yeung added it was too early to lay the blame on anyone.
A government statement released in the early hours of Friday noted that the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Labour Department had contacted the concert’s organizers on Wednesday about other incidents that had happened on stage in recent days, and requested the organizer to review and improve on the situation.
The hugely anticipated, sold-out concert series, the band’s first in the prestigious Coliseum, has been marred by mishaps since its first show on Monday, with band members and dancers falling or almost falling due to issues such as the stage design.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Health Bureau said in a reply to queries from Coconuts that the severely injured dancer’s family will be allowed to temporarily leave hotel quarantine to visit him.
Inbound travelers to Hong Kong currently have to undergo mandatory quarantine in designated hotels for seven days.
Local media earlier reported that his parents are flying in from Toronto.
“Under the current measures, authorized personnel of the Department of Health can, under specific circumstances, authorize people under quarantine to temporarily leave the quarantine site to visit critically ill relatives,” she said.
The spokeswoman added that the bureau understood that his family has booked a room at a designated quarantine hotel.
She also said it will try its best to provide assistance to the family so they can visit the injured in the hospital as soon as possible after completing the necessary entry quarantine procedures.
Chief Executive John Lee said the Health Bureau proactively contacted the severely injured dancer’s parents to let them know that authorities will arrange for them to go to the hospital to visit the victim.