Miami Crane Collapse Kills 2, Injures 5

March 26, 2008
A 20-foot section of a crane fell 30 stories in Miami on March 25, killing two construction workers and injuring five others.

The crane collapsed at the construction site of a 46-story condominium and crashed through the roof of a nearby home, which was used as an office and storage area for the project. According to media reports, several workers inside the home were caught under the rubble or the crane’s arm. One worker died on site, and the other died after being taken to a hospital.

The fatal incident comes only 10 days after the New York City crane collapse, which killed seven people. In that collapse, a steel collar fell and damaged another collar – a major anchor point – to detach the crane and cause it to fall.

Collapse Occurred while “Jumping” the Crane

Dan Sielicki, risk manager for Baker Construction, the project’s subcontractor, told OccupationalHazards.com that the collapse occurred while workers were “jumping” the crane, or adding sections to extend it. “At this point, the only thing we know is that the section being added to the crane for some reason became unstable and fell,” he said.

According to Sielicki, windy conditions prohibited the first jump, which was scheduled for March 21. In the afternoon of March 25, he said, “the winds subsided, and Morrow [Equipment Co.] decided the conditions were adequate for them to jump the crane.” It was during this process that the crane collapsed.

“It’s a tragic event and our heart goes out to the people who were killed and injured in the accident,” Sielicki said. “At this time, we’re conducting an investigation and cooperating with various officials to determine the cause of the incident.”

“The site is swarming with activity,” he added. “It’s going to take at least several days to determine [the cause].”

Injured Expected to Recover

Sielicki said that while one worker did incur a “piercing wound by some of the debris in the house,” none of the injured are in critical condition.

“Everybody is doing well and expected to recover,” he said.

In response to the incident, Mary Costello, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Bovis Lend Lease, the project’s general contractor, said in a statement: “Right now, it appears that a section of crane being raised by Morrow Equipment, a subcontractor to Baker Concrete, became disengaged during a lift and fell onto a house being used as a field office for our construction workers.”

“Our hearts are heavy at this moment for the two deceased individuals, including one of our own employees, and the injured workers,” the statement read.

Morrow Equipment Co., which owns the crane, could not be reached for comment.

About the Author

Laura Walter

Laura Walter was formerly senior editor of EHS Today. She is a subject matter expert in EHS compliance and government issues and has covered a variety of topics relating to occupational safety and health. Her writing has earned awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI) and APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. Her debut novel, Body of Stars (Dutton) was published in 2021.

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