Crane Accidents

70-foot Crane Topples Into River


St. Joseph, Michigan

Operator’s OK, but Crane’s a Total Loss

Crane Tips at Marina St Joseph Michigan 2011 The operator of a 70-foot crane that tipped over while working at Pier 33 Marina was being treated in the emergency room at Lakeland Regional Medical Center, St. Joseph, Thursday afternoon.

A hospital spokeswoman said Walton “Jeff” Dohner of LaPorte, Ind., was in good condition.

The crane, however, was not in good condition. Police said it appears to be a total loss. About 50 feet of the crane went into the water and had to be pulled out of the St. Joseph River by Hasse’s Crane Service of Benton Harbor.

Dohner was operating a crane owned by Donkersloot and Sons of New Buffalo when it tipped over around 2:30 p.m., St. Joseph police said. The cab Dohner was in was crushed between the crane and the sidewalk.

Police said the man’s co-workers freed him from the crane by breaking out the windows and door and removing the steering wheel. St. Joseph police said Dohner was part of a crew that was attempting to place pilings in the water at Pier 33 when the accident happened. A man at Pier 33 said the marina had no comment about the incident.

In a news release, St. Joseph police said about 35 gallons of diesel fuel and 80 gallons of hydraulic fuel were on board the crane, and an unknown amount spilled into the St. Joseph River. The Berrien County Hazmat team, the St. Joseph Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard immediately went to work to contain the spill, police said.

Officers Deniece Fisher, Bryan Elliott and Paul Komdeur were at the scene, and Dohner was taken to the hospital by Medic 1 Ambulance. Police said he was alert, conscious and able to walk when he was freed from the crane.

Photographer Notes: A piece of heavy equipment driving piles at the Pier 33 Marina in St. Joseph tipped over Thurs­day afternoon when two of its support footings sank in a grassy strip along the St. Joseph River. At the scene St. Joseph Firefighter Rusty Schrubba said two support footings were on asphalt and the other two were on plywood sheets over the grass that gave way. Two large cranes from Hasse’s Crane Service in Benton Harbor were called to pull the equipment away from the river’s edge. Schrubba said the equipment operator suffered a leg injury. John Madill / H-P staff

Category: Accident Report

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