Video: Falling crane barely misses man running for his life

Published April 5 2018
Updated April 5 2018

ST. PETERSBURG — A crane carrying a load at the construction site of the new police headquarters toppled over Thursday morning, sending workers scattering and narrowly missing one as it landed.

The incident took place just after 8 a.m., city officials said. Video captured the dramatic moments as construction workers on the ground realized the crane was tipping over. Several could be seen running as the load atop the crane came crashing down, followed by the giant crane arm.

The tip of the crane arm landed just feet from one of the fleeing worker.

No one was injured, city officials said.

"It was a very unfortunate accident," mayoral spokesman Ben Kirby said. "We all got lucky today and most importantly, no one was hurt."

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The city also reported no damage to construction for the new St. Petersburg Police Department headquarters, which is going up at 1301 First Ave. N, across from the old building.

The crane, which one construction worker said was carrying a scissor lift weighing about 1,000 pounds, did suffer damage, police said. The company was attempting to remove the fallen crane late Thursday, Kirby said.

He said the builder’s safety officer was investigating the incident but had not yet determined what caused the crane to fall over.

St. Petersburg police and fire officials said they had no details to report about the incident. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into the incident but officials there declined to comment on Thursday.

Workers at the scene did not wish to be identified. They said there was someone inside the crane when it overturned who "limped away." But authorities could not confirm that.

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Ajax Building Corporation, the construction company in charge of the project, did not return calls for comment. The company did, however, thank St. Petersburg police on Twitter.

Kirby said the crane belonged to a subcontractor who work at the site was finished. At 11 a.m. Friday, Mayor Rick Kriseman and Police Chief Tony Holloway plan to attend the building’s "topping out" ceremony, when workers will lay the last roof beam.