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- By Andy Smith
A 20m tower crane that collapsed on a construction site in London’s Bow, killing one person and injuring four, was a “tried and tested” machine that had already been fully erected, according to its supplier.
Two of the injured are Wolffkran employees. Both were taken
to hospital. One is in a serious condition, while the other was due to be
Wolffkran Ltd, the Sheffield-based UK subsidiary of the
German manufacturer of the same name, said the Wolff 355B luffing jib crane of
the type that collapsed has been “reliable in operation worldwide” and is currently
in use across 18 UK sites.
The crane that collapsed was 10 years old and had been fully
erected the day before the incident, the company confirmed. Some news reports had
previously claimed that it was still being erected.
In a statement, Wolffkran said: “The Wolffkran management
and staff are deeply upset by this tragedy and express their deepest sympathy
to the family of the woman that died in the incident. Our thoughts are with all
those affected, our own staff, and their families. We also thank the rescue
teams for their work on site. Employees of Wolffkran Ltd have been on site
since yesterday supporting the responsible authorities in their investigations
and preparations to remove the crane from the site.”
The Metropolitan Police and Health and Safety Executive
(HSE) are now investigating the incident, in which 85-year-old June Harvey, a
resident in one of the homes hit by the crane, was killed.
The accident happened on the Watts Grove housing development,
where Nu Living, the modular housing arm of Swan Housing Association has been
constructing new apartments. In a joint statement, Swan chair Valerie Owen and
chief executive John Synnuk said: “As chair and chief executive of Swan Housing
Association, we are deeply saddened by the tragic incident which occurred at
our Watts Grove construction site.
“We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the
family who have lost their loved one as a result of the incident. Your loss is a personal tragedy. We recognise that whilst understanding how
this happened will not ease your pain, we would like to reassure you on behalf
of our organisation that we will fully support the Health and Safety Executive
and the authorities in their investigation so that you can receive a full,
transparent answer to how this incident took place.
“Our thoughts are also with those who were injured and their
families. We wish them a speedy recovery.
We are also thinking of the wider local community who have had to leave
their homes as a safety precaution. Our
staff are on standby to help the Borough and Local Housing providers ensure
that you are supported through this difficult time.
“We would like to thank the emergency services for their
swift and dedicated response and those who are supporting residents affected. We
have never experienced a situation like this before and it is something that no
organisation ever wishes to happen. We therefore stand ready to respond fully
to support the investigation to understand what has occurred to cause this