To explain the causes of the death of Mickaël Beccavin, who fell more than 10 meters, on March 6, 2018 in Nîmes (Gard), we can zoom in on the end of a frayed rope. Or, on the contrary, opt for the wide shot, able to encompass what was in 2018 the huge Trigone construction site, which has today become this group of colorful buildings that welcomes visitors to the city as soon as they leave the station. .
It is between these two points of view on the same drama that the audience navigated throughout the day, Friday, May 7, at the criminal court of Nîmes. Two companies were appearing for manslaughter: the rope works company, Sud Acrobatic, and the company Eiffage Construction Gard. Prosecuted for the same charge, but liquidated in 2019, the Ciciarelli company, responsible for making the balconies, was not represented. To the chagrin of the civil parties, who deplored that only legal persons were prosecuted, but neither the site manager, nor the security coordinator.
There is therefore this fatal rope to which Mickaël Beccavin clung on March 6, 2018. Suspended above the void, he was working that afternoon on the installation of metal balconies: lifted by a crane, those- these had to be fixed manually to the facade of a future student residence. After the installation of four balconies on the left span, the crane operator presents a balcony of the wrong size, intended for the right span. The team of three rope access technicians then decides to change the order of installation and Mickaël Beccavin begins a translation on the right span.
Why this choice rather than waiting for the last two balconies on the left, as provided for in today’s program? Neither the file – which even the public prosecutor will deplore that it was not entrusted to an investigating judge – nor the hearing – where no witness to the accident was heard – will say so. But Sébastien Gimard, manager of the company Sud Acrobatic, will have this sentence, a few minutes after his arrival at the bar, which will mark the audience: “Apparently, everyone was in a hurry on this site. “
Hanging from a single rope
To work on the right, Mickaël Beccavin must hang on another set of lanyards which comes down from the roof, taking care to always be held by two ropes, one working, the other safety. But for some reason he only found himself hanging on one. Did it break then, or was it already cut when he clung to it? When the rope access technician began his rappelling, he fell into the void. He was 39 years old. A 9 year old girl. A father, a mother, a brother, a sister, an ex-partner, all five present at the hearing, traumatized.
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