Monday, 11 April 2016

Window Washer Dead After Crane Overturns, Son In Critical Condition

One person was killed and another critically injured in the accident. The men, a father and son, were up on a lift washing windows when the crane overturned.
Window-washing crane falls downtown: 1 dead, 1 critically injured: A father and son team of window washers suffered a tragic accident Sunday morning as the crane supporting their basket tipped over, killing the father, who was crushed beneath the crane, and leaving the son in critical condition. 

They were washing the windows of the Paul-Gérin-Lavoie pavilion of the Université du Québec à Montréal, at René-Lévesque Blvd. and St-Denis St., when the crane toppled over at about 10:25 a.m. Police said the men were working roughly five storeys high when the crane holding their steel basket aloft tipped over.

There were originally five victims, said Robby Lagacé of the Montreal Fire Department: the 53-year-old man trapped in the basket and four people taken to hospital, three suffering from nervous shock. When Urgences Santé confirmed the death of the trapped man, the fire department switched from rescue to recovery mode, Lagacé said.

At  3 p.m., firefighters and investigators with Quebec’s labour safety board had still been working to remove his body from beneath the crane. The son was still listed in critical condition in hospital yesterday afternoon, said police spokesperson Jean-Pierre Brabant. The cause of the accident is not known and it will be investigated by the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST).

A witness said one of the crane’s support posts was placed on soil.
Diane Thibault, a spokesperson for the CNESST, said investigators were on the scene Sunday “to try to get as much information as possible to establish the cause.” She did not have the name of the window-washing company involved in the accident. Some streets in the area were blocked as a horde of police, ambulance and fire department officials worked at the scene. The fire department tried to stabilize the vehicle using two other cranes, Lagacé said. 

Witness Pierre Benoit said he saw the front of the truck bearing the crane initially rise a few feet in the air, then suddenly pitch backward. He saw one of the window washers ejected from the lift. The other remained within, and was crushed when the lift crashed to the ground. Benoit said three of the support posts of the crane truck were placed on the asphalt surface of the road, but the fourth was placed on soil. It appeared the support placed on soil sunk into the ground, causing the truck to tip backward.

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