09 July 2020 00:30
A woman has died and at least four people were injured when a tower crane collapsed onto houses in East London today. A Wolff luffing crane at a 62-flat housing site in Bow is understood to have toppled over backwards. The jib crashed into the roof of two nearby terraced homes while the tower came down on the under-construction scheme. The dead woman was found on the first floor of one of the houses. Firefighters arrived at the scene and spent several hours freeing people trapped inside the damaged house.
Eyewitnesses said the crane driver had been rescued. London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Graham Ellis said: "A 20 metre crane collapsed onto a block of flats under development and into two terraced houses on Compton Close. "Our Urban Search and Rescue crews undertook a complex rescue operation and used specialist equipment to search the properties. "Sadly one woman died at the scene. The London Ambulance Service have confirmed that two people were taken to hospital with head injuries and a further two were treated at the scene." The crane was operating on a major housing site for NU Living, the in-house building arm of Swan Housing Association.
Crane behind my building just collapsed in Bow, London. At least one man crushed, crane went through 2 house. pic.twitter.com/pOBF4LcZmc — Bridget Teirney (@bteirney) July 8, 2020 A spokeswoman for the housing association 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." Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: "There must be an urgent, full and complete investigation into the circumstances that led to this accident. "The preliminary findings of which must be released in weeks, rather months or years, in order to ensure that similar accidents are avoided in the future." Crane collapse: Woman dies in Bow tragedy as neighbours go to the rescue Collapsed crane also tore through a block of flats being built next to Compton Close. Picture: Sid Rahman Sid Rahman A woman has died after a 60ft crane crashed on terraced houses in Bromley-by-Bow despite being rescued by neighbours before emergency services arrived. Share Email this article to a friend To send a link to this page you must be logged in. House in Compton Close with the crane crashed through the roof. Picture: Sid Rahman House in Compton Close with the crane crashed through the roof. Picture: Sid Rahman The crane erected only the day before collapsed on a site where a new block of flats was being built off Watts Grove. It smashed into the roof of two adjoining terraced houses in Compton Close at 2.40pm today. Ambulance paramedics treated four people, but confirmed the woman's death. She was found on the first floor of one of the houses that was hit by the crane and was brought down a ladder by two neighbours. Compton Close... Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire Compton Close... 60ft crane has collapsed onto two houses and a new block of flats. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire Onlooker Sahana Begum heard the crash and saw an elderly woman at her bedroom window shaking badly. "The woman was panicking," she said. "Her son was calling from the ground to try and get her down." The two neighbours with the ladder helped her down. She was barefoot and someone gave her a pair of sandals. Police and the emergency services turned up at that point and set up a cordon and moved onlookers back. The collapsed crane left people trapped inside one of the houses. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire The collapsed crane left people trapped inside one of the houses. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire Emergency services confirmed one woman died at the scene and four people were treated by ambulance paramedics. Two were taken to hospital. A large part of the roof was completely smashed in on one of the houses which took the full impact. The family next door had a narrow escape. A woman in the house said: "It's just lucky that one of my siblings was at work and the other was downstairs. They would have been completely crushed. We are all just so lucky to be alive." The Mayor of London called it a tragedy and gave "heartfelt condolences" to the family of the woman who died in Bow today. The fire brigade had used specialist equipment to search the properties for survivors. The brigade's assistant commissioner Graham Ellis said: "Our search and rescue crews undertook a complex operation. Sadly one woman died at the scene." Neighbours had earlier described how two people were rescued from one of the houses while the toppled crane balanced precariously above them on the wrecked rooftop. You may also want to watch: A builder who lives in close-by ran out of his house with a ladder and made his way through clouds of thick dust. He leaned the ladder against the terrace in Compton Close. Onlooker Sid Rahman told the East London Advertiser: "They had to persuade her to get onto the ladder in case there was a further collapse. She was very scared. "I knew something big had happened when the ground shook and ran out into clouds of dust. Everything was twisted." Eye-witness Dave Aylwood was one of 14 neighbours who dialed 999. He told the paper: "We heard a huge crumpled bang that shook the whole street. The gantry crane on the building site opposite is on its side. "There's a huge hole in the house where the crane went through." Crews arrived from Poplar, Whitechapel and Stratford fire stations, with the Fire Brigade also using a drone overhead for aerial imagery to help the rescue operation. Streets around Watts Grove leading to Compton Close were cordoned off with police advising drivers to avoid the area. Work on the Watts Grove site began in 2018 on a housing scheme to replace a disused electrical substation. The Marney Construction company's chief executive Neil Marney was on another site, but had seen the crane being erected on Tuesday, just 24 hours before. He told the Press Association: "My project manager called me immediately and said the crane I was looking at yesterday has just collapsed." The crane belonged to another company and was still being erected when it collapsed. The Unite trade union tonight called for "an urgent and complete investigation into the circumstances" that led to the tragedy. Its national officer Jerry Swain said: "The preliminary findings must be released in weeks, not months or years, to ensure that similar accidents are avoided in future." Families were evacuated from Compton Close and neighbouring properties to be put up overnight at a rest centre in a school by Tower Hamlets Council, but was not known when they could return as the area has to be made safe. Mayor John Biggs said the incident will "worry people" and added: "We have more construction in this part of London than just about anywhere in the country and it's important that we learn any lessons and see where there any errors." The crane was being used for a Swan Housing Association development whose staff were on site to provide support to the emergency response and the investigation. Structural engineering assessments now need to be carried out to check whether the houses in Compton Close are safe, but the mayor warned it "may be a few days yet" before families can be back in their homes. The nearby All Hallows parish church in Devons Road set up a tea stall soon after the tragedy to feed the emergency services who are still at the scene tonight.