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Another trailing boom incident

A large All Terrain crane traveling in a trailing boom configuration overturned on a California highway yesterday.

The crane, which looks like a Liebherr LTM 1400-7.1 from the Bigge Crane rental fleet - with four axle trailing boom dolly - is reported to have been travelling on the west bound side of highway 237 in San Jose at around six in the morning, when the driver swerved to avoid traffic and lost control of the rig. This caused it to hit and crash through the central reservation, rolling onto its side in the outside East bound lane.
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The incident a few hours after it occurred

Thankfully, and perhaps miraculously, no one was seriously hurt in the incident, although the operator was treated at the scene for minor injuries while those in two vehicles caught up in the incident were fine.

The road was closed all day, but a rapidly deployed rescue effort cleared the road last night. The incident caused a major diesel spill which required a substantial clean up effort before the road was opened.
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The recovery gets underway

The following video shows the recovery process:

Vertikal Comment

Given that only a very small percentage of All Terrain cranes are equipped with trailing boom configurations for road travel – most of them in North America and Australia - there seems to be an inordinate number of serious road incidents involving them. In the past three months alone we have covered three incidents, including this one. Is this the case or is it that when they do crash their length and complexity causes more chaos? One has to wonder if the road authorities might do better allowing the higher axle loadings in order to prevent such incidents? Other countries manage it OK. Not that there are no accidents with cranes travelling in the normal configuration - perhaps when they do occur they do not cause as much chaos?

The following are a few examples of such incidents that we have covered in recent years.
One in Pasadena, California in late September
and one in Virginia in July

The following are a few more such incidents, some of which have resulted in fatalities.
Crane operator fatality
Fatal crane road accident
Crane flips on highway
Another trailing boom incident
crane crash blocks highway
Another wipe out


Good Morning Frank,

Thank you for your input, the content of which is noted.

As you know, Lifting Operations are inherently dangerous as it always involves the defeat of gravity with every single lift.

So on Monday 7th May 2007, I began 12yrs of Research into Crane Safety with my database now detailing 677 Incidents leading to 565 Fatalities.

Bigge Crane and Rigging is also part of my database on four seperate occasions within the past 10yrs, with the last being the Fatal Tower Crane Incident which killed Kirsten Smith in Dallas, Texas on 9 June 2019.

Therefore as my Database records a never ending series of Wrecked Cranes, Dropped Loads and Expensive Prosecutions, all of which has already cost the Crane Industry Hundreds of Millions of Dollars. If your CEO wishes to generate more margin, the quickest route to do so is by reducing costs and the most cost effective way to achieve this is by adopting Safe Systems of Work, starting with

1. Better Training including the Newtonian Principles of how to calculate Force, Mass and Gravity in that programme.

2. Better Instructions, including Risk Assessment, Method Statements and how to Calculate the Sail Area of Loads in High Winds.

3. Better Supervision, inc the Option to Stop the Job in the event of an Unsafe situation, as Pro-actively Managing Safety from A and Z is now highly cost effective.

Why, Because Worker Safety is important, very important and much too important to leave it to chance, as 565 Fatal Incidents is 565 too many ?

Till we meet again, I remain.

Yours Sincerely
Mike Ponsonby

Dec 28, 2019

Unfortunately, the big crane story once again gets the headlines from the news. This isn't really about the crane or the trailing boom. In 2017 there were over 415,000 tractor trailer accidents in the USA that resulted in property damage. There are over 30,000 fire truck accidents per year in the USA, which is the 2nd leading cause of death for our brave men and women who fight fires. (United States Fire Admin and NHTSA statistics). The crane industry is totally focused on safety and works to meet or exceed every state and local transportation requirement. This story mentions 3 incidents in the past 3 months. In the USA, MANY of the large AT's do have to have some form of trailing boom. Unfortunately, not only do we have 50 states that require 50 different types of weight and transport laws, we have cities and counties within each state that often have conflicting requirements within themselves. The point here is that whether we have the trailing boom, a trailer hooked to a tractor, a flat bed or an F-150 pickup truck, we all want to remain safe, compliant and supportive of technology and initiatives that promote increased safety and awareness for all motorists. Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured in the above accident. It does, however, highlight the fact that defensive driving is a real skill set that should be a continuous focus at the training centers, on the job and in the field. We are always working to ensure that the actual projects are safe, but must never let our guards down on how dangerous the roads (both paved and unpaved!) can be for our specialty equipment as well as our own personal vehicles. Thank you to all of the industry leaders and manufacturers that continue to drive safety and support the health and welfare of our employees. We only wish that the states could actually find a way to work together so that there would be more continuity for all of our drivers, employees, and the transportation industry. Certainly, it would be better and safer for all vehicles if there were universal, rather than local, rules. Have a SAFE and Happy Holiday Season.

Dec 23, 2019

Isn't it allowed to travel with the boom over front because of axle loads over there?

Dec 22, 2019