Crane operator fatality

A man driving a four axle mobile crane died early this morning in an incident near Villach-West in Austria, near the Slovenian and Italian borders.

The man, 55, was driving the crane, north on the A10 highway in the very early hours, when something caused him to swerve off the road, just after passing through a tunnel, and plough through the barriers of an elevated section of the road, falling around 30 to 40 metres to the ground below.
The rescue after the fire was put out photo courtesy of HFV

The crane, a Liebherr from the Felbermayr fleet, landed in a steep, brush covered area and caught fire, creating a real challenge for the emergency services to reach the crane in order to extinguish it and rescue the driver. There was also a risk that it would roll down the bank towards the B100 road that passes beneath the highway. The fire department managed to secure it and at least benefitted from it being close to the river – so plenty of water.
The team in action HFV

The fire chief said: “The extinguishing measures were difficult, luckily the river Drava was very close, which means the water supply was quickly established. But due to the steep terrain, there were problems getting the team safely into the fire area and being able to carry out the extinguishing measures in a safe manner.”

Plans are afoot to recover the crane, originally today, but following a survey of the site by Felbermayr it will happen sometime next week.
Photos courtesy of HauptFeuerwache Villach