DISASTER was narrowly avoided last Wednesday when an 80ft construction crane toppled over within yards of a busy road in North Dorset.
Residents living near the Sydenhams roundabout in Gillingham were startled by a loud crash at around 11.30am and left their homes to see the large red crane, owned by South Coast Crane Hire, had fallen on to a prefabricated building unit just yards from the B3081 Shaftesbury Road.
According to eyewitnesses, the 80ft crane was being used to hoist a large steel girder when it lost balance.
Martin Swann, who lives in nearby Lockwood Terrace, said: “I was just pottering around in my back garden and I heard this loud noise.
“I immediately realised something had gone wrong and went to have a look. I could see the crane had fallen over and they have been extremely lucky because it only missed the road by about 6ft.
“Fortunately, I think everyone managed to get out the way of it.”
Giles Garton, who works at the Sydenhams builders’ merchants on the other side of the road, saw the crane fall.
He said: “We were looking out of the window and we could see that the crane was at full extension.
“The crane was carrying what looked like a large piece of steel and it seemed to be at a funny angle.
“The boom was at about 60 or 70 degrees and then it just went down until it was touching the ground, just a few feet short of the road.
“Apparently the crane had started to sink in the soft ground. Now they are going to have to get two more cranes to come in and lift the one that fell over back up.”
The site is being developed into a retirement home by Shropshire-based firm, Pickstock Homes. Neither Pickstock Homes nor South Coast Crane Hire were available for comment about the incident.
Category: Accident Report