Two construction workers died and five were injured Tuesday when a seven-ton section of crane fell 30 stories onto a Miami home made famous by the film “There’s Something About Mary.”
Fire and rescue officials said the collapse occurred about 1:45 p.m. as a construction crew tried to lengthen the crane for work on a 46-story luxury high-rise overlooking Biscayne Bay. The 20-foot section dangled, witnesses said, before dropping through the roof of a Spanish-style home that the contractors used as an office.
“The crash felt like a small tremor, an earthquake,” said David Martinez, 31, who had been working on the fourth floor of the high-rise building. “You could hear all the tiles falling in.”
Several of the workers inside were caught under the crane’s yellow metal arm or the rubble it caused. One died at the site and another at a local hospital. Among the five injured, one was in critical condition, said Lt. Ignatius Carroll, a spokesman for the Miami Fire-Rescue Department.
Lieutenant Carroll said the cause of the collapse had not been determined, but the circumstances appeared to differ from those of a New York City crane collapse 10 days earlier that left seven dead.
In that case, a six-ton steel collar meant to help hold the crane in place broke free and plummeted from 18 stories high, leading the entire crane to detach from the building and fall toward the ground, with one section landing on a town house.
The Miami accident more closely resembled one in New York on Sept. 29, 2006, when a 13-foot section of crane fell 20 stories and injured five people.
The names of those killed and injured here were not released, but at least one worked for Bovis Lend Lease Holdings Inc., the contractors overseeing construction of the building.
Mary Costello, a senior vice president of the company, said in a statement, “Our hearts are heavy at this moment for the two deceased individuals, including one of our own employees and the additional injured workers.”
The statement said the crane was operated by Morrow Crane, a subcontractor. The company’s Miami office did not respond to several telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment.
It was not clear when or whether the crane had been recently inspected. Florida neither licenses nor regulates cranes, and a county provision approved this month — which requires that cranes match the wind-speed standards of permanent buildings — will take effect next week.
State legislators, after failing to pass measures covering cranes in recent years, are also considering new legislation.
At the scene, on North Bayshore Drive just north of downtown, workers gathered between the damaged home and the high rise — the Paramount Bay, scheduled to open next spring with condominiums starting at $850,000, and featuring private elevators to every residence.
The house, they said, was known as the “the Mary house” — where Cameron Diaz’s character, Mary, lived in the 1998 comedy that also starred Ben Stiller. The 1920s-style Mediterranean home was being used as the project’s safety office.
Category: Accident Report