Julio Combina, a 50 year old truck driver, died yesterday on Highway 39 near Fort Lonesome on the Manatee County line near Tampa, Florida after he crashed into the boom of a Rough Terrain crane that had pulled out from a side track.
The Tadano crane is owned by Sims Crane rental of Tampa and was working on at the Mosaic phosphate mine that straddles the highway. The boom and hook block ripped into the trucks cab killing the driver almost immediately.
The crane operator, Jerry Gibson, 58, was shaken but unhurt and the crane appears to have suffered very little damage.
Rough Terrain cranes have, by their design, a long front overhang which can make them dangerous in such situations. If the side track has no clear view of the road (due to trees or buildings) the boom will extend well into the road before the driver has a clear view up the highway.
In this case this was not the case, photos suggest that there was a clear view. So either the crane driver underestimated the trucks speed or simply did not see it coming?
The point is that whenever an off road crane, either RT or industrial needs to cross a highway extra care needs to be taken. With a plant located both sides of the highway warning lights should have been installed warning traffic that heavy equipment is or maybe crossing.
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