Wednesday 16 October 2019

Student named as one of four people killed by crane in Seattle

The structure fell from a building under construction at Google’s new campus in the city.

The construction crane fell from a building on Google’s new Seattle campus (AP)
The construction crane fell from a building on Google’s new Seattle campus (AP)

By Lisa Bauman and Rachel D'Oro

Officials in Washington state are expected to confirm the identities of the four people killed when a construction crane fell from a Seattle building.

The King County Medical Examiner’s office said it would release the names of the female and three males who died on Saturday afternoon when the crane crashed onto one of Seattle’s busiest streets.

Seattle Pacific University said that a first year student was among those killed when the crane fell from a building under construction on Google’s new Seattle campus onto Mercer Street.

Workers clear debris in the wake of the tragedy (AP)

Sarah Wong had intended to major in nursing and lived on campus, the university said.

Ms Wong was in a car when the crane fell.

All four people had died by the time firefighters arrived Saturday afternoon, fire chief Harold Scoggins said.

Two were workers who had been inside the crane while the other two were in a car, fire department spokesman Lance Garland said.

“While we grieve the sudden and tragic loss of our precious student, we draw comfort from each other,” Seattle Pacific said.

“We ask that the community join us in praying for Sarah’s family and friends during this difficult time.”

The crane struck six cars, and left four other people injured.

Several people were hurt in the accident (AP)

Frank Kuin, a Montreal-based journalist, was in a Seattle hotel lobby when he heard a “big bang” and felt the floor shake.

He said he initially thought there had been an earthquake. Then he saw motorists leaving their cars on a nearby off ramp and running towards something.

Mr Kuin followed them around a corner and saw a chunk of the crane lying on top of cars, including three that were crushed.

“To imagine what happened to those people who just happened to be driving by was quite shocking,” said Mr Kuin, who later took photographs of the scene from his fifth-floor hotel room.

Officials do not yet know the cause of the collapse.

The tower crane was being disassembled when it fell from the building, according to officials.

A 28-year-old man remains in hospital in a satisfactory condition. A mother and her infant were released from hospital on Saturday while a fourth person injured was treated at the scene and released.

The deadly collapse is sure to lead to increased scrutiny over the safety of the dozens of cranes that dot the city’s skyline.

With Amazon, Google and other tech companies increasing their recruitment in Seattle, the city has more cranes building office towers and apartment buildings than any other in the United States. As of January, there were about 60 construction cranes in Seattle.

PA Media

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