Fatal tower crane incident in Seattle UPDATED

A tower crane collapsed yesterday at the new Google facility in Seattle, killing four, two are said to be crane erectors or operators, while the other two – a man and a woman – were sitting in cars passing in the street below.
The scene yesterday evening

Four other people were injured, one was treated at the scene while at least two others have been released from hospital, the fourth person a man is reported to be in stable condition.
The incident could easily have taken more lives, given that the tower section fell into an area close to traffic lights

The incident occurred Saturday afternoon/evening Seattle time, the crane, a Liebherr, was being dismantled at the time, the jib and counter jib has been removed when the top half of the tower came away from the bottom half just above the top of the building. When the tower landed on the roof, the cab assembly and one of the top tower section parted company with the rest of the fallen tower and fell into the street. Right above a set of traffic lights. Strong wind with significant gusts, were also reported in the area when the incident occurred.
The cab and top tower section look as though they might have been already unbolted?

The following video has now posted in

We will of course update this as and when we learn more.

UPDATE June 11th

The state Department of Labour and Industries formally closed its investigation into Seaburg Construction, the company that provided the crane operators, but - having found no violations, and confirmed that it had no involvement in its dismantling which was being carried out when it collapsed. The agency is continuing its investigation of four other companies: general contractor GLY Construction, subcontractors Northwest Tower Crane Service and Omega Morgan, and crane owner Morrow Equipment. Investigators are focusing on the possible premature removal of the all of the crane's tower bolts while team waited for the wind to drop allowing the mobile crane to resume work.

UPDATE October 17th

Crane supplier Morrow Equipment which supplied the crane was fined $70,000 as it had an expert on site who did not stop the crew from Northwest Tower Crane Service was dismantling the crane from removing all of the tower pins while they waited for the wind to drop so that the mobile crane could resume its duties. It was fined $12,000 for not having a supervisor on site, while main contractor GLY was fined $25,000. A criminal investigation has also been launched. See full story


Graeme Davison
Surely, the training required to erect and dismantle tower cranes would dictate that you only remove the fixings of each section, one at a time, immediately prior to removal. It makes you wonder how many cranes they got away with in the past removing the pins, and how many other rigging teams also adopt this dangerous practice. There may be 'bravado' involved with working at height and working on tower cranes, but I really can not see how making the structure unsafe in this way could even save time or make the process of removal of a tower easier. There's a real case for us all to look at tasks we carry out on a day to day basis, mindful of the phrase that 'familiarisation leads to contempt' and see what corners we sometimes cut and what the consequences could be. In this case its 4 deaths, maybe the riggers at the top of the crane weren't the people who actually took the pins out of the tower, maybe one of their team members did that, we may never know,so no judgements on the riggers who died, that was tragic enough, but to kill members of the public too who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time... well I thing the courts will decide on that. I guess the training and re-training of the team would be the focus of the investigation. Sometimes there's merit in just following the procedures, doing the job properly and safely, and taking pride in doing a job well, more so than taking shortcuts and doing it a bit faster than it normally takes. At least that way, everyone goes home to their families at the end of the day. RIP all who tragically died here.

Apr 30, 2019

Can't Spell Mokanic
I have to agree, Mike. I wonder how many more sections were unbolted that would let the tower sway that far before coming down and apart. This is going to be a very ugly investigation. God rest the victims.

Apr 30, 2019

Guys, is it just me?... For judging by how the tower falls apart in the movie and what can be seen on the photos, I'd say that at least the slewing ring/cab module and the tower section directly beneath it both already had the connecting bolts removed, without the mobile crane being attached and securing them...

Apr 29, 2019