A crane operator and his assistant were rushed to area hospitals last Friday afternoon after the equipment they were operating tumbled from a ramp under construction at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project. It landed partially under the uncompleted ramp with its wheels in the air.
Both the operator and his assistant, who was standing on the platform outside the control cabin, jumped from the large crane as it fell, according to John Undeland, public affairs director, Potomac Crossing Consultants. Neither was struck by the crane but landed on the rocks below.
“They both suffered broken ankles. One was taken by ambulance to Inova Alexandria Hospital and the other was medevaced to a Washington hospital. The EMT personnel did an excellent job. They were on the scene within 10 minutes of the accident, which is a pretty amazing response,” Undeland said.
Both men, employed by Tidewater Skanska Construction of Virginia Beach, Va., have been released from the hospitals as of Tuesday morning, according to Undeland. “The crane operator had a more severe ankle break than his assistant,” Undeland said.
The accident occurred at approximately 4:15 p.m. when “the crane tipped over during a lift. We are not yet sure of the cause. I was told both support legs, used to stabilize the crane, were extended at the time,” Undeland said.
“Virginia state inspectors have collected all their data but have not released their report,” according to Undeland. The crane has been left in place since the accident pending completion of the data collection. “It will now be removed in the next couple of days,” Undeland reported Tuesday morning.
“The crane and its boom was totalled. It will be dismantled for removal. Some of the parts may be salvageable but that’s all,” he said. There was no estimate on the value of the crane owned by the construction company.
The accident caused no traffic backup except for “rubber necking” because it was on a ramp under construction outside traffic flow. Undeland indicated they did not expect any impact on traffic impact during removal for the same reason.