A large tower crane has come down in the east end of London, UK this afternoon seriously injuring one man working on the site, and trapping at least three members of the public in homes opposite. The crane operator is understood to have managed to climb down from his cab and is not seriously hurt.
The crane, a Wolffkran reported to be from the HTC fleet, was working on a low rise housing project in the Bow area, when its luffing jib went over the rear, the freestanding cruciform base appears to have shed its counterweight - probably as the crane went over - with the tower landing on the building under construction while the jib came down on a row of houses across the street.
The crane was being used by Swan Housing Association and NU living. A spokesman said: "Swan Housing Association/NU living is aware of an incident that occurred at our Watts Grove development site in Tower Hamlets, east London, this afternoon. A full incident response has been implemented and our staff are on site supporting the emergency services in their response."
The emergency services arrived on the scene shortly before 15:00 today, a spokesman from the London Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 2.42pm today to reports of an incident involving a crane collapsing near Watts Grove, Bow. The incident is ongoing and we are working closely with other members of the emergency services at the scene.”
The assistant commissioner of the London Fire Brigade Graham Ellis added: "A 20 metre crane has collapsed onto a block of flats under development and into two terraced houses on Compton Close. Our Urban Search and Rescue crews are undertaking a complex rescue operation and using specialist equipment to search the properties. This is a multi agency response and is likely to be a protracted incident. I would ask people to avoid the area."
The police at Scotland Yard said that a joint investigation "involving officers from the Metropolitan Police's Central East Command Unit and Specialist Crime, the Health and Safety Executive and the London Fire Brigade" was being organised.
We have now received confirmation that a woman in one of the homes named as June Harvey, 85, was hit by the crane jib and died at the scene while four others are injured, the man on site remains in a critical condition. We will continue to update this item as and when we learn more.