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Construction Site Water Tank Ruptures

Monday, October 19, 2015

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A mother and her two children were among those who escaped with only minor injuries after a water tank at a hospital construction site in Australia ruptured and sent a wall of water rushing toward their car.

According to the Sunshine Coast Daily, about 2.7 million liters (713,264 gallons) poured out of the tank late afternoon on Friday (Oct. 16). The water force was so strong that it swept one car off the road and damaged several others.

The tank is one of two that are on a construction site at Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital north of Brisbane, according to media reports. The second tank was being checked for structural integrity.

There was no word Friday about what might have caused the tank to give way.

‘Like a Tsunami’

Lou O’Brien, who was driving near the construction site with her 11-year-old twins when the tank ruptured, told ABC News that she lost control of her car as the water gushed from the tank.

“It just took us,” said O’Brien. “It was like a tsunami and I just told the kids to hang on.”

A spokeswoman for construction company Lend Lease told the Sunshine Coast Daily that the company officials were aware of the rupture and working with emergency crews.

“Safety is our number one priority,” the spokeswoman reportedly said. “We are currently working closely with emergency services.”

Hospital Project

According to its website, the Australian-based construction company specializes in building and designing buildings and infrastructure, including hospitals, roads and bridges. The company has a global reach and employs 13,200 people around the world.

Lend Lease

The new Sunshine Coast Public Hospital is scheduled to open in 2016, with the project completed by 2021, according to construction company Lend Lease.

The company lists the hospital among its current projects. According to the Lend Lease website, the new hospital is scheduled to open in 2016 with the remainder of the facility completed by 2021. The AUS$1.8 billion (US$1.3 billion) hospital will have 768 beds and serve both as a teaching hospital and as a healthcare hub for Australia’s Sunshine Coast.

Call for Improvements

The rupture closed Kawana Way, which also blocked access to the hospital construction project. A Queensland state official told the Sunshine Coast Daily that he has been concerned about the lack of access to the hospital for some time.

“Maybe that’s a defining moment showing the state government that they need to fix a problem they know is coming,” said Steve Dickson, who is a state member from Buderim. “We definitely need a really good road network for the hospital.

“I’m so pleased that no one has been seriously hurt but what happens if it is a serious matter and people need to get in [the hospital]?” the official continued.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Australia; Commercial Construction; Construction; Health Care/Hospitals; Quality Control; Water Tanks

Comment from Vernon Benjamin, (10/19/2015, 10:24 AM)

Any details on the tank itself? Is it concrete, metal, what? And the cause? Thank you.

Comment from Amy Woodall, (10/19/2015, 10:45 AM)

Vernon, the tank appears to be metal, but we are awaiting additional information from the construction company on the site. We will post an update as soon as information is available. Thanks.

Comment from Amy Woodall, (10/21/2015, 1:37 PM)

Vernon, the construction company has confirmed that the tank was steel. However, the investigation into what caused the rupture could take up to six months. A LendLease spokeswoman said its current focus is getting the site back to work. Workplace Health and Safety and Lendlease will run a full and thorough investigation once the area has been re-opened.

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