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Construction Cranes Collide In Austin, Sending 16 To Hospital


A crash between two construction cranes in Austin, Texas, Wednesday morning sent workers below fleeing and more than a dozen people to the hospital.

The cranes’ wires got tangled before the collision in East Austin, Fire Battalion Chief Mark Bridges told the Austin American-Statesman. None of the 22 total injuries — including 16 hospitalizations — were considered life-threatening, but Austin-Travis County EMS Cmdr. Mike Benavides termed one of the injuries serious.

The injuries were sustained as people below the cranes ran away from the scene, EMS Capt. Darren Noak told the Statesman. Bridges said a piece of one of the cranes broke off as a result of the collision, although it was not immediately clear whether any debris fell.

The accident happened at the site of the future 280K SF Alpha office building, where Cadence McShane Construction Co. is handling construction. The company received a 2019 National Safety Merit Award, which is presented by the Associated Builders and Contractors.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Cadence McShane in 2013 and 2017. A worker was killed at an Austin construction site in August 2017 when the rigging for a concrete slab failed and the slab fell, and the company was cited in April for noncompliance with face mask rules at another Austin worksite, the American-Statesman reports.

“We are in close contact with our subcontractors, local authorities, and our on-site team to better understand what transpired,” Cadence McShane Senior Vice President Craig Morris said in a written statement obtained by the Statesman. “More importantly, we are working with the crane subcontractor and the fire department to ensure the damaged crane is safely dismantled. Since this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot provide additional details at this time.”

It is far from the first crane accident in the U.S. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries found 297 crane-related deaths between 2011 and 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

New York City shut down crane operations at 22 construction sites in August 2019 after a pair of accidents, one of them fatal. OSHA fined a crane operator after a June 2019 crane collapse that killed a Dallas woman, and human error and weather were cited as causes in an April 2019 crane accident that killed four in Seattle. 

OSHA is investigating the current incident.