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November 11, 2011

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3 died 'due to tardy cable team'

THE failure of the local telecoms operator to respond quickly to reports of a dangerous cable led to the deaths of three "good Samaritans," claim their relatives.

On Wednesday afternoon, a van became tangled in a low-hanging telecoms cable, pulling down a telegraph pole that crushed the three men and injured another person.

Wang Fang, 36, granddaughter of a 79-year-old who died on the scene, told Shanghai Daily that residents had seen the cable was hanging dangerously low as early as 1:40pm - about four hours prior to the accident.

She said residents reported the damage to police, but China Telecom repairmen failed to show up.

The three victims, all elderly men, were dubbed good Samaritans by family members.

One was trying to lift the cable while the others were warning drivers to be careful, when the pole was pulled down by a minivan and crushed them, witnesses said.

A van driver and two repairmen who failed to repair the cable in time are now under investigation by police.

According to Wang, her grandfather was jogging with the other two elderly men on a sidewalk on Mingzhu Road, Qingpu District, at 5:50pm when they decided to help out. "For all his life he was a kind-hearted person who helped others. He deserved a happy ending, not this," said Wang.

Witnesses said they saw the elderly man was trying to hoist the cable with his bare hands, while his companions warned drivers.

They claim a minivan ignored them, hit the cable and pulled down the pole. The three men died and a police assistant was injured.

An official, surnamed Shen, with Xujing Town government, confirmed that the police received a report at 1:40pm, but said the telecoms station immediately sent off workers to inspect the scene.

He said that four police assistants were dispatched to warn drivers of the low cable, with one parking a motorcycle in the middle of a lane.

He said the damaged cable was fixed by repairmen late at night on Wednesday.

The police said they are carrying out further investigations into the case with the city's work safety bureau.

An official with China Telecom Xujing Station said yesterday that senior officers were all engaged in an emergency meeting.

By 8pm they had not returned with a comment.


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