Updated: Falling metal kills pedestrian in downtown Montreal

MONTREAL – A huge slab of steel broke free from a front-end payloader in downtown Montreal on Monday, fatally slamming into a 32-year-old pedestrian.

”He was hit by a big metal plate, he was severely injured and he was quickly taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival,” said Montreal police spokeswoman Anie Lemieux.

Lemieux confirmed the plate was being moved at the time. She also added that the workplace accident near the Bell Centre is being investigated by Quebec’s health and safety board.

According to a safety board official, the mishap occurred while an excavation company was operating a mechanical shovel that was transporting a steel plate.

“The hook that was preventing the plate from sliding opened,” Fanny Geoffrion said in an interview. “Something happened to the hook . .and the plate fell on the pedestrian.”

She said the board will continue its investigation and make public its report in six months.

The tragedy occurred as thousands of Quebec’s construction workers began returning to their jobs following their traditional two-week summer vacation period.

Coincidentally, the health and safety board had issued a statement just a few hours before the death to remind some 160,000 construction workers to be vigilant on the job.

There were 7,537 accidents in Quebec’s construction sector in 2012, with 42 per cent of them taking place between the busy months of August and November.