Wednesday, January 26, 2011

April 19th, 2009

Suzhou City, China During Dismantling operations a tower crane suffered a structural failure that killed 4 and injured 2.

It seems clear that the climber is on the tower near the top. The counterjib complete with weights hangs. The pendants of both jibs are connected to both the jibs and the tower top. What appears to be missing is the turntable. You can clearly see air between the tower and where the tower top is. There may be the smallest of turntables up there. If it still exists, are we looking at a turntable so thin and old that it is clearly pre-70's? Looking at the tower I don't even see any landings, nor can I make out a ladder which also makes me wonder about the age of the crane. But given the t-shaped counter-weights and the solid steel bar pendants, I would gladly let go of the age concern and assume that what we are looking at is a crane that suffered a bolt failure. Was it caused by the climber pushing into a weakened bolt or were the bolts removed prematurely? Both seem equally dubious claims, but where humans are involved, the likely cause is human err in removing the bolts, which has happened way too many times. This blog alone has it documented as happening as far back as 1985 in country after country. It never ceases to amaze me.

We have a Kroll K 1400 going up in Seattle today. I took many pictures today. The Counterjib was on, but the front jib was going to go up later in the day and I didn't want to wait around 6 hours. I'll be on the site tomorrow and get more pictures. It's a massive crane. I'll lay out the details that I can gather tomorrow, evening time here in Seattle.   

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