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Teen crushed to death after scaffolding collapses at construction site trapping him under a pile of steel

18-year-old Christopher Cassaniti died at Macquarie Park in North Sydney on Monday after a 15-meter tower of scaffolding collapsed on top of him
UPDATED FEB 27, 2020
(Source : Getty Images)
(Source : Getty Images)

A mother has paid tribute to her "guardian angel" son in an emotional Facebook post after he was crushed to death at a building site while working as an apprentice tradesman.

The son, 18-year-old Christopher Cassaniti, lost his life when a 15-meter tower of scaffolding collapsed on top of him at Macquarie Park in Sydney on Monday, according to a Daily Mail report.

Patrizia, his mother, who served coffee at a mobile truck down the road, rushed to the site within minutes after she was told her son was trapped. Later, on Tuesday night, she posted a photo with her "beautiful boy" on Facebook. "My Guardian Angel... sooo much pain," she wrote alongside the picture.

Since the tragedy, there is mounting speculation as to what caused the breakdown, which also sent a 39-year-old tradesman to the hospital. According to union bosses, it was mostly human error.

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan said the scaffolding was either overloaded or not put up properly.

"When scaffolding is used and erected correctly according to specifications, properly maintained and the ties are left in, and it's loaded only in accordance with the safe working loads that are appropriate to its design, then it doesn't fall down," he said. "Somewhere in that chain, something has gone wrong."

Owing to the tight deadlines during Sydney's building boom, safety watchdog SafeWork NSW issued 100 notices for breaches of scaffolding safety rules last year amid growing fears that developers were cutting corners or riding roughshod to get the job done. Regulators reportedly issued $265,000 worth of fines for various safety breaches after visiting over 1,000 construction sites last year.

Synergy Scaffolding Services, the firm which erected the scaffolding at Macquarie Park, said the safety of workers was of paramount importance. "We adhere to all safety regulations, ensure all staff are suitably qualified and undergo specific training and inductions," it said in a statement. 

Tradesmen were seen in distressing footage that emerged on Tuesday frantically trying to save their two trapped colleagues. The workmen, wearing hard hats and high-visibility jackets, rushed to free the men as harrowing screams resounded throughout the building.

However, police held the men back fearing that tonnes of twisted metal and concrete could collapse further by dislodging just one piece of steel.


In the clip, a policewoman is shown ushering the workers back as one tradesman yells, "You're wasting time. We need access."

A policeman is then heard on a megaphone soliciting help from the tradesmen, to which one responds: "You've got a whole army here - we're ready."

"If we move the wrong piece more will collapse," another policeman warns the workers. "It's like a jigsaw puzzle. Give us instructions then, let's do something," a tradesman replies.

An unknown individual is heard screaming at one point, "My brother's down there." The policeman on the megaphone then continues: "Listen, listen. Let the ambos stabilize it and as soon as they say ready we'll get it."

Cassaniti became the fifth person to die at a construction site in Australia this year. His unnamed 39-year-old colleague was pulled from the rubble and rushed to hospital in critical condition, and is now reportedly stable.