Roof of building at Hong Kong university collapses, injuring three

Rescue workers inspect a sports centre after its roof collapsed at the City University in Hong Kong on May 20.
Rescue workers inspect a sports centre after its roof collapsed at the City University in Hong Kong on May 20.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (AFP) - The roof of a building at Hong Kong's City University collapsed on Friday (May 20), injuring three people, officials said, sparking panic among eyewitnesses who said it sounded like an explosion had gone off.

The accident happened around 2.30pm local time at a university sports centre in the Kowloon Tong neighbourhood, with footage showing the caved-in roof along with the police, firefighters and ambulances at the scene.

"The roof collapsed and there were three people were injured," a police spokeswoman told AFP, adding that the affected area was 30 sq m.

The three people who were hurt have been brought to hospital, the police said, without detailing the extent of their injuries from the collapse, which occurred in an area used for badminton and basketball.

Witnesses said people feared there had been an explosion.

"When it collapsed... people ran away and were saying 'there's an explosion, run away'," a witness who was identified only as Mr Tsui told Cable Television news.

Mr Tsui also said the venue was used by students to take exams and that the examinations period had just passed. "Luckily, nobody is writing exams anymore now."

Television news footage showed police and firefighters inspecting the collapsed roof.

"To the best of our knowledge at this time, no other persons were trapped inside the hall and the prime focus now is to ensure that the facility is safe," a university statement said late on Friday afternoon.

"It is understood that two members of City University staff have been hurt and a third individual is in shock," the university said.

Such accidents are very rare in Hong Kong, a city of seven million people.