A tower crane collapsed Saturday in Seattle at the construction site of a new Google campus, killing four people and injuring four others.
Among the dead are two ironworkers who were on the crane and two people in separate cars. None of the four injured people suffered life-threatening injuries; three were hospitalized.
The crane fell Saturday afternoon from the roof of a building in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle and hit six cars on Mercer Street. A storm with gusty winds passed through the neighborhood while the crane was being dismantled and then toppled, according to witnesses and the National Weather Service.
The state Department of Labor and Industries launched an investigation to determine the cause of the accident, which was unknown Saturday night. The fatal collapse of the tower crane was the first in the Seattle area in more than 12 years.
Deyan Cashmere, 20, told the Seattle Times that he and his father Eric, 48, saw a crew dismantling the crane hours before it collapsed.
Cashmere and his father, who have worked with cranes in Australia, noticed that the crane at the Seattle construction site seemed to be leaning before it fell because of an improper distribution of its weight. “I thought it was going to fall,” Cashmere told the Times. “It was at an angle. It wasn’t standing upright.”
Seattle police interviewed Cashmere and his father and took images of the crane prior to the collapse from the father’s phone.
Esther Nelson, who was working in a nearby building, told the Times she saw the crane break in half in windy weather conditions: “Half of it was flying down sideways on the building. The other half fell down on the street, crossing both lanes of traffic … It was terrifying.” [Seattle Times] – Mike Seemuth