A tower crane came down onto an apartment building in Dallas, Texas during a severe thunderstorm yesterday, with winds exceeding 70mph. We understand that a 29 year old woman who was in the building has died while at least two others are said to be in critical condition, with four others being treated for injuries sustained during the incident. One of which has now been released from hospital.
The crane a freestanding 20 tonne Terex/Peiner SK 415-20 hammer head crane from the Bigge tower crane fleet came down across the apartment block and the adjacent multi storey car park. It seems that the counterweight descended into the upper apartments, while the tower - which failed structurally at the top of the second section - struck the car park, destroying a number of floors, sending cars into the lower levels.
(The tower caused substantial damage to the multi storey car park
Dallas Fire and Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said: "We only hope that what we have found up to this point is where the damage and where the impact stops.” He also stated that the structure was unsafe which was limiting the search for any further injured people.
A further two injured people have been released from hospital, while two remain in a critical condition, and a third is said to be in serious condition, but likely to make a full recovery.
Around 500 residents of the apartment block have been evacuated now with a recommendation to find alternative accommodation. It looks now as though the woman who was declared dead on the night is the only fatality, she has been named as Kiersten Smith, 29, an employee of a healthcare company.
The investigation into what caused the collapse, is now focusing on whether the crane was properly 'weather-vaning' or not given that the winds, while high should not have been sufficiently so to bring down the crane.
Bigge has released the following statement which we are publishing in full:
"On Sunday, June 9th, a tower crane at a construction site in Dallas collapsed during a storm with extremely high winds. This crane is owned by Bigge, and was leased to Greystar Development and Construction, L.P. – Gabriella Tower Contractor Series.
We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life which resulted from this collapse, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families, loved ones, and so many others affected by this personal loss. We are also deeply concerned about those who were injured in the collapse, as well as those who have been unable to return to their homes or have suffered property loss.
We know that those affected — and the public at large — have a great many questions about this incident, and we want to provide as much information as we can. Here are the basic facts:
Bigge Crane and Rigging Co. owns the crane in question, and it was leased to Greystar Development and Construction. Bigge commonly leases cranes to construction companies to be used as part of their site construction operations. The jobsite and crane were not in service when the storm and resulting high winds hit the construction site.
Immediately after we learned of the crane collapse our company mobilized personnel to the construction site. All parties are fully cooperating with government regulators, including the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA has been on site and is involved in evidence preservation and collection.
The crane was delivered to Greystar in April 2018 and placed in service at the construction site in April 2018. It was one of two tower cranes Bigge leased to Greystar for work at the site. The other tower crane had recently finished its scope of work and had already been returned to Bigge. When the storm and extremely high winds occurred, the tower crane was not in use and was not being manned at the time of the accident. It is our understanding that the operator has said that when he completed his work the prior day, the crane was placed in the appropriate out-of-service mode per the crane manufacturers requirements.
We believe that extreme local wind conditions caused this crane accident, but what matters most now is that OSHA and independent investigations continue and lead to their official findings. Safety is our number one core value, and we manage our company consistent with industry best practices in safety and training. In the coming months, we will continue to cooperate with all parties and provide any and all assistance possible.
There has been a great amount of inaccurate media reporting on this issue, our company, and the crane industry as a whole. While these inaccuracies are unfortunate, what is even more unfortunate is the tragic loss of life, serious injuries and other negative effects which were caused by this accident. We owe it to those most affected by this tragic accident to get the independent investigation right, and we will most certainly do our part.”