A tower crane with free standing counterweighted base, has overturned this evening in Crewe, UK, injuring the crane operator while another two men were trapped under the tower and died from their injuries.
The crane was being erected on the site of a new care home, which is being developed on land, previously part of the Bombardier plant. We are unclear as to what exactly caused the overturn, but witnesses report seeing the crane tower lean gradually before it overturned completely, suggesting that the ground may have shifted under the base allowing the counterweights to slip from the base.
A photo that we have been sent indicates that the crane's jib landed on a house next to the site. It also shows a John Sutch Crane Hire All Terrain that had been helping erect the crane. The falling tower crane's jib fell across the mobile crane's counterweight as it came down. We understand that the erection process had either stopped or been completed, the mobile crane had slewed its boom out of the way and the shortly after that the tower began to list.
According to the ambulance service two other people - a mother and a child - were also taken to hospotal when "part of the crane landed on a house". They were quickly released, following a check up.
A crane operator was seriously injured and was airlifted to hospital where his condition is said to be 'non critical'. The Health & Safety Executive is sending an inspector to investigate.
The main contractor Seddon issued a statement early on which said: “We are aware of an incident at our construction site on Dunwoody Way, Crewe. At this early stage we are working with the emergency services and authorities in order to provide the necessary assistance. We will provide further updates once more information becomes available.”
We have requested further information and will update this story as we learn more and understand what exactly happened.
We now that the crane was being erected by tower crane rental tompany Falcon and that those who died were tower crane erectors for the company -
David Newall, 36, and Rhys Barker, 18 - while the injured man is David Webb, who remains in hospital in a stable condition.
A statement from Falcon said: "Rhys Barker and David Newall were highly regarded and popular members of our staff. Their deaths were untimely and deeply regretted by all their friends and colleagues who wish to express their deepest and sincere condolences to their family and friends. Our thoughts go out to their families whose welfare is uppermost at this difficult time."
"We also share our deepest concern for those who were injured and we wish David Webb a speedy and complete recovery."
"We consider health and safety to be of paramount importance and we have taken every step to ensure that all procedures are conducted as safely and efficiently as possible. We will leave no stone unturned to establish what went wrong and we will co-operate fully with all authorities to understand fully the causes of this tragic accident and to learn all safety lessons to be sure that safety remains of paramount importance."
A statement from John Sutch Crane Hire - issued on the day of the incudent aknowledged that one of its cranes was involved in the incident in that the tower crane collapsed onto its mobile crane. with managing director designate Hayley Sutch adding: "Our deepest thoughts and sympathies go out to the families at this tragic time." It also confirms that the company is co-operating fully with the Health & Safety Executive."
The John Sutch mobile was most likely rented out on a pure crane hire contract to Falcon, and as such would not have been involved with the component instalation sequence or foundation building that are likely to be the first points of investigation.
FURTHER UPDATE - August 2
We recveived the tragic news that Dave Webb has now died from the injuries that he sustained in this incident. He was just 43.