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Crane operator dumped into lake

A crane operator was thrown into Lake Pontchartrain, New Orleans, yesterday on the construction site of Interstate 10 twin spans between Slidell and New Orleans.

The 65 year old man was operating a 30 ton Rough Terrain crane when he apparently lifted a roadway curb formwork and swung it over the side of the bridge as he was extending the boom. The crane then tipped and came to a temporary rest on the guardrails, throwing the operator from his cab into the water.

The man was quickly rescued by the emergency boats on standby for just such an incident. Some seven to eight minutes after the accident happened the crane broke free from the rail and fell into the water.

The man is a certified crane operator and has worked for main contractor Boh Brothers since 2001. He was rushed to hospital where it is understood his condition is stable.

A spokesman for Boh's is quoted in the local press as saying: "The employee was working on a mobile hydraulic crane and for an unknown reason, lifted a steel roadway curb form beyond the safe working radius, causing the crane to tip over."