Woman dies after 20-metre cranes collapses onto Bow homes

8 July 2020, 15:58 | Updated: 8 July 2020, 20:34

A woman has died after a 20-metre crane collapsed onto homes in Bow, east London.

The crane collapsed on a site where flats were being constructed, and crashed onto two adjacent terrace houses on Compton Close, Bow, on Wednesday afternoon, London Fire Brigade (LFB) said.

The victim was found on the first floor of one of the houses hit by the crane and confirmed dead at the scene.

A video posted on Twitter showed a terraced house with part of the roof caved in, and emergency services said "a complex rescue operation" was under way.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted: "This is a tragedy. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family of the victim who died during this incident in Bow today. I sincerely hope that the four individuals injured make a full recovery."

A woman has died after a crane collapsed onto some homes in Bow, east London
A woman has died after a crane collapsed onto some homes in Bow, east London. Picture: PA
The crane crushed at least two houses as it collapsed
The crane crushed at least two houses as it collapsed. Picture: Bridget Teirney

London Ambulance Service (LAS) said crews treated four people and confirmed one death.

A spokeswoman for LAS said: "We treated four people at the scene. We treated two of these patients for head injuries and took them to hospital and we assessed the other two patients at the scene.

"Sadly, despite the efforts of emergency services, a fifth person was found and died at the scene."

The Metropolitan Police said officers were called at around 2.39pm on Wednesday to Gale Street to a report of a crane that collapsed into a residential property and a building site.

London Fire Brigade are working to free residents trapped inside
London Fire Brigade worked to free residents trapped inside. Picture: Bridget Teirney

In a statement, London Fire Brigade said: "We've taken fourteen 999 calls to reports of a crane that has collapsed onto a building in Gale Street, Bow. More updates when we have them but please avoid the area."

A spokeswoman for Swan Housing Association and NU living said: "Swan Housing Association/NU living is deeply saddened by an incident that has occurred at our Watts Grove development site this afternoon.

"Our thoughts are with those affected and their families at this difficult time.

"We would like to thank the emergency services for their swift and dedicated response and those who are supporting residents who have had to leave their homes as a safety precaution.

"Our staff are on site to provide support to the emergency response and the investigation."

Work on the Watts Grove site began in 2018 where the one, two and three-bed shared ownership apartments are replacing an electrical substation building, according to the NU living website.

Unite national officer Jerry Swain said there must be "an urgent, full and complete investigation into the circumstances that led to this accident"
Unite national officer Jerry Swain said there must be "an urgent, full and complete investigation into the circumstances that led to this accident". Picture: PA

LFB assistant commissioner Graham Ellis said: "Our urban search and rescue crews are undertaking a complex rescue operation and using specialist equipment to search the properties.

"This is a multi-agency response and is likely to be a protracted incident.

"I would ask people to avoid the area."

Emergency services at the scene on Wednesday afternoon
Emergency services at the scene on Wednesday afternoon. Picture: PA

Neil Marney, chief executive of Marney Construction, said it was not one of his company's cranes that had collapsed nor was it a crane on one of his sites.

But he said he could see the crane being erected on Tuesday from the site he was working on, saying: "My project manager on the site called me immediately and said the crane you were looking at yesterday being erected has just collapsed.

"So all I could see yesterday was the mast and the cab was on, and then I believe they started to add sections of the boom."

Unite national officer Jerry Swain said there must be "an urgent, full and complete investigation into the circumstances that led to this accident".

He added: "The preliminary findings of which must be released in weeks, rather than months or years, in order to ensure that similar accidents are avoided in the future."

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