Crane Collapse That Killed 4 Caught on Video

By Zachary Stieber

Video footage of the moment a crane collapsed on April 27 at a construction site in Seattle, killing four people, has emerged.

Among those killed was a college student who was in a car crushed by the crane.

Bystander Natalie Williams posted the footage on YouTube showing the crane falling over and crashing into a building before pieces slam onto several vehicles on the road.

The footage appears to be from a car’s dashcam and is taken from a car sitting in traffic less than a block from the crane. “No!” says a person in the car as the crane starts tilting over. “What the [expletive],” they add as the pieces rain down on the traffic ahead of them.

Two people in cars were killed, including Sarah Wong, a Seattle Pacific University freshman. Two ironworkers in the crane’s cab were also killed in the incident, which took place at Google’s new campus on Mercer Street.

“While we grieve the sudden and tragic loss of our precious student, we draw comfort from each other,” Seattle Pacific said in a statement. “We ask that the community join us in praying for Sarah’s family and friends during this difficult time.”

Four others were injured, including a 25-year-old woman and her 4-month-old daughter, reported the Seattle Times. A Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman said that none suffered life-threatening injuries.

“It was terrifying. I looked up. The wind was blowing really strong,” said Esther Nelson, a biotech research assistant who was working in a building nearby and saw the crane fall from a window.

seattle crane collapse
Firefighters and police officers work to clear the scene where a construction crane fell from a building on Google’s new Seattle campus crashing down onto one of the city’s busiest streets and killing multiple people on April 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Frank Kuin)

She watched the crane topple over.

“Half of it was flying down sideways on the building,” she said. “The other half fell down on the street, crossing both lanes of traffic.”

Deyan Cashmere, 20, of Australia, who was in Seattle for cancer treatment, told the Times that he and his father saw the crane being dismantled hours before the collapse. They thought the crane was leaning.

“I thought it was going to fall,” Cashmere said. “It was at an angle. It wasn’t standing upright.”

A construction crane collapsed on Mercer Street near Interstate 5 in downtown Seattle on April 27, 2019. (Chelsea Oughton via AP)

The state Department of Labor and Industries is heading an investigation into the collapse, probing four different companies—GLY Construction, subcontractors Northwest Tower Crane and Omega Morgan, and Morrow Equipment Company—a spokesman told King 5.

“It’s a horrible day in Seattle when something like this happens right in the heart of our city,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement. “Most people have driven down this road at some time in their lives. But it’s a time when we come together because Seattle is a city that rallies around each other.”

There have been two other crane accidents in Seattle in recent years, including a crane malfunction in 2017, which nearly injured workers and a bicyclist.

With a portion of the broken crane on the roof behind, workers suspended in a basket on April 28, 2019, survey the damage left on the building when the crane atop it collapsed a day earlier in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

“The state Department of Labor and Industries inspects those cranes regularly,” Durkan said. “The workers who work on them are very good. I think that we’ve had a good track record here. But of course we’re going to pay extra attention to make sure that the cranes that are in Seattle today are safe.”

The investigation is expected to take six months to a year, officials said.

Joe Sadler, safety director of Exxel Pacific, said that 70 private inspection companies must sign off on a crane before and after assembly.

“The reason we have so many rules and regulations really is typically because at some point in time someone got hurt or worse,” he said.