Monday, September 2, 2019

Crane Wrecks

I have notes on Cranes in Action. It is time for cranes in "inaction." Most of the accidents in America that don't involve high winds are at wind turbine farms when they "walk" from one tower to the next over a farmer's field. I have a special set of notes for wind farm accidents. I see quite a few photos of telescopic booms breaking or the crane tipping. But most of those accidents are in the third world, so I tend to ignore them. I have saved some photos of telescopic boom accidents to note the failure modes. And a wreck in New York got its own post to explain the importance of parking luffer cranes in a jackknife position overnight, especially if high winds are expected.. And a crawler crane fell over while lifting a steel beam for a bridge. There have been quite a few wrecks in wind farms.

(Update: the material for the Big Blue collapse has been moved to here.)

I labeled this post with "energyWind" because some accidents were caused by the wind blowing the crane over.

Chuck Ellis posted four photos with the comment: "Looks good let's go for it."
[When you have at least seven axles, that means you have a concentrated load. It not only busted bridge spans, it broke piers. Imagine the shock of the people driving the cars on the other end of the bridge when it "all fell down." The operator is not even using a boom dolly.]



3, cropped
Douglas Janaszek Looks like they need a crane now. Tough recovery I’ll bet.


Flying through the air posting, cropped

Crash landing posting, cropped

Michael Gates posted
Manitowoc 2250* Also, turns out an hour after I saw it heading down river they got tangled in power lines killing power to 20,000+ people.
[Michael must have forgot to post a photo that was taken after the accident.]
Rickey Park It was in Chesapeake VA on the intercoastal waterway.
Ray Bordeaux We picked a crane up that the boat operator wouldn't call for a bridge opening and the crane operator wouldn't boom down any further. I think they were pissed at each other.
Was a funny sight with the boom sticking out about 6 or 7 feet above the water.
And of course it was a Friday at about 5 when they called us.
["The crane got wet." Talk about playing chicken with each other.]

[Note that soon after this view, one side of the bridge falls on the big crane. If that hadn't happened and if the host line could have been spooled out fast enough, that crane may have stayed upright and avoided wrecking some of the homes.]

Chuck Ellis posted
Ryan Wade Grand Pre Kevin Jenkins this crane was last summer in Shelby NC it was a 888 with 180 & 180 operator boomed main down to 43 degrees and flat on his luffer when it went over.
Amin Yamum Counterweight stay put.
Christopher Humlhanz Amin Yamum 888 are pinned on, their not going anywhere
Amin Yamum Design good
[When a MLC650 tipped forward, its counterweights fell off and some landed on the cab and killed the operator.]

Ryan Wade Grand Pre Robert Suza failed his drug test for meth.
Amin Yabath He was trying to say it was oil but we all know very well!
Gary Kelly If I'm not mistaken, This is at the Papermill in Shelby NC, from Memorial Day weekend 2018. This crane has a luffer, and the operator boomed down trying to pick up his rigging when there was a forklift sitting right beside the rigging that was rolled up on a pallet. Crane was rented bare, to LPR!
Corkey Crane commented on Chuck's post, cropped
That is from last year, scab "operator" tried reaching out past the jackknife limit to pick up rigging. Here is the same crane, different view.
James D. Litton That was Lpr in Shelby Nc at clear water paper. I was running a squirt boom about two hundred yards from that mess . He boomed the main down to below 50 degrees going after a flipping four way.
[Per a comment, a four-way is four-leg rigging spreader that is normally attached to a ring.]
Nick Batson commented on Chuck's post, cropped
View from another angle. I was working on this job with Laframboise group.

Chuck Ellis posted
Enid Oklahoma
[The yellow truss that the boom fell on is a fall protector.]
Chuck Ellis High winds or a tornado took this one down at night. Nobody was around when it happened. Got it from a guy that works there.

This was another high-wind accident. But this one appears to be an operator error because it is a luffer crane that was not parked in a jackknife position overnight even though severe weather was predicted. Fortunately, the house that the boom fell on happened to be unoccupied when the boom buckled. A wrecking ball ended up on the first floor.
Crane comes crashing down onto 2 homes in New Brunswick

Darin Kramer posted
New Brunswick NJ

Chuck Ellis posted

Joseph Plourde It’s crazy how many cranes you see people roll over with the outriggers in.
Ej Brantley Joseph Plourde that's the easiest way. [One of my few Facebook "Ha Ha" reactions.]

Robert Auerback posted, cropped
Mike Weaver 777T
[Note the truck crane tilted to the passenger side until its boom was stopped by another boom.]

Joe Dockrill shared
Punny Pete posted
Milon Benner I prefer to back off so that the slope pushes you back into the seat, easier then to slowly back off... you foot is not holding you back just controlling the movement of the machine.
Judging by the tire tracks, the operator really did drive it off the side of the trailer!
Above plus Paint

Troy Bosco shared Jeremy Brundle's post
Carlos Alberto Leibeck It’s going to be an interesting dismantling operation.

James Maida posted
[Judging from the comments about calling 811 and the color of the cable, it looks like that pulled a long length of fiber cable out of the ground.]

Corey Gerber posted two photos with the comment: "Anyone know about this from Charlottesville. Not my pictures was posted on another page. Just curious. [One worker had a broken leg.]"

Jase LeBlanc Well that was a 888

Dave Seiter I'm guessing the shock load caused the luff boom cable to spaghetti like that???
Mike Weaver All the pendants are still connected too.
Story has it the load line was being highballed out of the structure and hung up. Jib folded in the middle.

Brandon Schmitt Shockload is all I can guess.
Robert Pickel Brandon Schmitt you see it pulled the welds out the top luffing spar.
Brandon Schmitt And luffer pendants still attached
Another post


Screenshot @ -0:17
[And when it fell on the boat, it shoved it over on its side. Is that the boss at the base of the crane telling the operator to get out of the cab?]

I've written notes about this tower crane wreck, but I can't find them now. So I'll put this here for now.
Bart Widman posted
This is the last job i was in seattle washington. The tower Crane fell 2019 and 4 people lost there lives. I'm the elevator operator 20 feet from crane shaft.
Jeff Lippman i remember that! They pulled all the pins on the way up....and the tower blew over...
(new window)   Skip to 0:23 to watch the crane fall. I recommend watching with mute on because of a couple of F-bombs. I went back to watch the video from the beginning when I realized you could see the tower leaning more and more before it fell.

Sam Elliott MLC down
[The boom of a crane being moved hit the boom of a 340' tall stationary crane and knocked the stationary crane over! No one was hurt. It looks like the boom of the crawler crane also got wrecked. This was at the construction of the $5b SoFi Stadium being built for Los Angeles Rams and Chargers in Inglewood, CA. Evidentlly the tower crane was just beginning a disassembly. The crane fell on a parking lot rather than the stadium.]


  1. Regarding your repeated comments on "jackknife" procedures for luffing jib lattice booms parking/high winds. The jackknife position is the weakest position to leave a crane, and most manufacturers explicitly warn of doing so. Manitowoc recommends only leaving in this position if guy lines are attached 2 on each side tethered to at least 30,000 lb per line. Other manufacturers only have a park position for the boom/luffer combination or boom and jib flat on the ground. Boom combinations in jackknife position is extremely susceptible to side winds. Leaving a crane in jackknife position is WRONG, and the practice is the product of the ignorant repeating the advice of others who are equally ignorant.

    Also to clarify from another note regarding four-ways as a multi-sheave load block; 4-ways are four-leg rigging spreaders, usually attached to a ring. NOT a load block.
    I hope this helps to clarify these issues. - Corkey Crane

    1. I'm really confused because I have taken photos and/or video of operators putting their luffer into a jackknife position at the end of the work day. And if I visit the sites off hours, the crane is jackknifed. I've posted photos and video for a Microsoft expansion: Photos and video for a 21000 are on my todo list. I've also seen a luffer that was working in Joliet being jackknifed at quitting time.

    2. Thanks for the clarification of a "4-way." I have fixed the comment.