Crane disasters have become quite prevalent in the world as the expectations for rapid urban development have increased globally. Bigger building, bigger projects, and exploding payrolls for the biggest construction companies have attracted a glut of workers, trained and untrained, to build these projects. No matter how much time is dedicated to safety accidents and crane collapses will happen.
1. “Big Blue” – Milwaukee, WI 1999
The larger the equipment that is used the larger the accident that can happen. On a frigid afternoon in July of 1999 occurred the crane accident of all crane accidents. A 567 foot crane in use had its own name, and to this day the accident is still referred to as “Big Blue”. Crane operators working on the Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI were moving the largest piece of rooftop for the stadium, estimated at 423 tons. When it collapsed, it did so in dramatic fashion with numerous injuries and three fatalities. Wind was blamed eventually for the collapse at gusts of up to 35 mph.
2. Boston, MA 2006
Many construction accidents happen in construction zones, but sometimes they happen in the middle of a city. This is exactly what happened downtown Boston during April, 2006. At 10 ton construction platform plummeted 13 stories onto the traffic below instantly killing three people. The scaffolding in question was not a crane of any sort, but it deserves a spot on this list.
3. Battersea, England 2006
One neighborhood saw destruction in Battersea, England in September of 2006. A crane collapsed onto a group of houses and car-park killing two people.
4. Bellevue, WA 2006
Accidents seem to happen when we least expect them. In November, 2006 in Bellevue, Washington, A crane operator was shutting down his crane to go home for the day. Witnesses reported hearing a loud crack sound right before the crane toppled on the surrounding condos. One man was killed sitting in his home.
5. New York, NY 2007
Yet another New York, New York accident happened in December, 2007 when the lifting sling of a crane snapped. The load of roughly seven tons dropped 13 stories. Luckily, only one worker was injured, and no one lost their life.
6. New York, NY 2008
Seven people died in the deadliest crane accident in March, 2008. A crane towering over 200 feet in the air crashed into a couple of buildings and wiped out a townhouse completely. This accident marked the worst single death toll by a crane in New York City, New York history. The disaster was a sobering moment for the city as it was two days away from its annual St Patrick’s Day celebration.
7. Miami, FL 2008
March, 2008 was a bad month for cranes. While New York was still reeling from its string of accidents Miami, FL was poised for its own tragedy. The crane that was helping to build a 46 story skyscraper Biscayne Bay suddenly lurched towards a home below crushing two workers and injuring five more. The force was so strong that onlookers described it as if an earthquake had struck the bay.
8. New York, NY 2008
New York City, New York seems to be a bastion for construction accidents and May of 2008 was no different. The same construction site had received at least one previous safety violation along with numerous complaints from members of the community. From a height of 20 stories, one crane dropped towards the site below crushing two crew members.
9. Houston, TX 2008
A giant tower crane capable of lifting thousands of tons made its home at an oil refinery in Houston, Texas. This particular crane found itself instantly destroyed before it had even completed being put together. During July of 2008, during the actual assembly of the crane itself, the crane snapped of at its base, smashing cars, cracking asphalt, and taking four people with it.
10. Cai Lan, Vietnam 2008 July 2008 was a tragic day in the port of Cai Lan, Vietnam. Seven workers were killed and six were injured badly. It is impossible to tell the tale of all the crane accidents that have happened in modern times. This list covers some of the more famous ones. It also gives an idea of the many mishaps that can lead to costly and usually fatal accidents. Below is a video displaying a mobile crane accident: