Ceiling collapses on Curtin’s School of Design, kills one

One man was killed and two others seriously injured when a glass ceiling collapsed during construction work at Curtin University in Western Australia on Tuesday.

Two men in their 20s were rushed to Royal Perth Hospital with multiple injuries after firefighters had freed them from the wreckage.

In a statement, the university said: “Curtin University wishes to extend its sincere condolences, thoughts and support to all those impacted by today’s tragic incident on campus.”

A university spokesman said: “We have been advised that no Curtin students or staff were involved in the incident.”

The ceiling collapse happened at the Bentley campus of the university just after 12.30pm. The building under construction is the School of Design and the Built Environment and is part of a new project called The Exchange, which includes a hotel, student accommodation and retail space.

The glass roof at the front of the building collapsed, bringing down a support structure as well.

A university spokesman said the building where the roof collapsed was under construction and under the management of the contractor Lend Lease.

‘Tremendous noise’ as roof collapsed

Damian Clancy, an electrical trade union official, was on site when the accident happened. He said there was a ‘massive crashing sound’ as he walked by the building.

“It sounded like smashing glass, someone filling a skip bin and you were standing three feet away from it – it was a tremendous noise,” he said.

Many of the workers on the site who had been under the structure earlier had just come down for lunch and were visibly shaken.

Two male construction workers were on top of the building when the roof gave way unexpectedly. Both fell more than 20 metres to the ground and a 23-year-old was later confirmed to have died.

The other man was seriously injured and taken by ambulance to hospital. A third man working inside the building was also taken to hospital, but his injuries were less severe.

The cause of the collapse is yet to be determined. Police said the construction had been going on for months and they were unaware of any issues with the worksite.

Curtin cancelled events on the campus on Tuesday afternoon as a mark of respect to those affected by the tragedy

Nearly 40,000 Australians are enrolled at the university along with another 14,500 international students.

Curtin was established in 1966 when it was known as the Western Australian Institute of Technology. It is active in research in a range of academic and practical fields, including resources and energy, information and communication studies.