Skycrane drops load into street

A helicopter crane dropped a large air conditioning unit into the street in Oakland, California on Saturday.

The Sikorsky Skycrane had lifted the air conditioning unit from a truck and was lifting it, onto a building that is under construction in the street. It had raised it to a height of around 12 metres when the helicopter, which has a maximum capacity of around 10 tonnes, seemed to just let go of the rigging, dropping its load into the street, narrowly missing construction workers. Thankfully no one was injured in the incident.

Bigge crane and rigging was called in to recover the unit and arrived with a telescopic crane and truck with low loader trailer. A video of the incident can be seen below. The street had been closed for the work and the helicopter had been lifting materials onto the building all morning. The helicopter is owned and operated by Siller Helicopter.
A crane loads the damaged AC unit onto a low loader

General manager Hunt Norris said: “We are in the process of investigating the incident. We are grateful no one was hurt and give credit to our employees’ embrace of our safety management system.”

Vertikal Comment

It would be interesting to know why a helicopter was chose for this job, unless it was the top of a high rise block with no tower crane? Otherwise, a mobile self-erecting tower crane would have been the perfect tool for the job. Although there are very few, if any, units working in the USA. We would be interested to learn more.


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