A construction crane in Sydney, Australia caught fire and collapsed onto a university building Tuesday morning, underscoring workers’ worries over safety on the project, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
“We had a four-day stoppage on the project a number of weeks ago,” said Brian Parker, state secretary for the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), the country’s largest construction union. “We brought these issues up very clearly about the safety concerns of this crane. And today we’ve seen a fire, we’ve seen … the fact [is] hundreds of people could have been killed. If that jib was facing out into the street when it collapsed, there could have been hundreds of deaths here.”
The developer on the project, Lend Lease, is preparing a response to Parker’s claim. CNN reported that the 213 foot crane belonged to Pinnacle Industries, the same company that owned a 90-foot crane that broke when superstorm Sandy hit New York City last month.
Officials said a diesel engine on the crane caught fire and burned for about 20 minutes, causing it to give way and collapse onto a building at the University of Technology. No injuries were reported, though hundreds of people had to be evacuated from the area, and nearby traffic will reportedly be affected thru Wednesday.
The newspaper also reported that Parker at one point Tuesday called the site “an accident waiting to happen.”
An aerial shot of the crane, aired on NBC’s Today Show Tuesday morning, can be seen below.
And footage of the crane collapsing, as shot from the street near the construction site (NSFW — language), can be seen in this video, posted on YouTube on Tuesday by “viralnewsmedianow”: