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Dade City man hurt when crane plunges into water

A 42-year-old man was in guarded condition at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa on Monday, two days after a 250-ton crane collapsed and trapped him in 30 feet of water in Crystal Springs.

Duane Patterson of Dade City was working at a limerock mine at Plaza Materials Corp. when a crane sank into 30 feet of water and dragged him down with it, according to Sheriff's Office reports.

Patterson was trying to fix a broken gear shaft at the bottom of the crane, which was being used to excavate rock from the mine. Dirt around the crane gave way, causing the crane to plunge into a water-filled pit.

Patterson was submerged about 20 seconds before he freed himself and swam to the surface, officials said. He suffered two broken legs, numerous cuts and, possibly, internal injuries, officials said.

County workers were called to clean up hydraulic fluid that leaked into the water.

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