Five children and eight adults were injured earlier today when a crane lifting them overturned in Neuenstadt am Kocher, to the north east of Heilbron in southern Germany.
The crane, a four axle All Terrain owned and operated by crane rental company Scholpp, was lifting a purpose built enclosed viewing cabin on its full boom, when something caused it to lose stability and overturn. It was lifting the group at a school fete.
Luckily the boom came down onto the roof of a house and the chains supporting the cabin held firm – so that it came to a stop in mid-air, rather than crashing all the way to the ground. The 13 were rescued and taken to hospital. We understand that two of the adults were badly injured and were airlifted to hospital – there rest are being treated locally.
The crane appears to be well set up and there were no problems with the ground, leaving overloading/over reaching as the likely cause of the incident – police are investigating.
We could very easily have been writing about 13 fatalities today, rather than 13 injured – so on that basis this is a very lucky escape. There will be those that say this is why a crane should never be used for lifting people unless it is absolutely essential.
However the failure here is unrelated to any normal crane with suspended platform concerns – such as a hoist cable breaking or lifting gear failure. And one assumes that the operator/job planners de-rated the crane to reflect that they were lifting people.
It will though remind crane owners and operators of the risks of participating in this kind of event. Hopefully all 13 will make a full recovery and we will all learn something from this event.