The moment whereby a burning crane which caught fire on a construction site snapped and fell on top of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) building on Broadway in inner Sydney this morning has been caught on tape.
A video, which was filmed by a passer-by and supplied to Channel Nine, shows the upper portion of the crane above the main boom tip collapsing onto the building rooftop.
Workers were seen fleeing the building as about 100 were evacuated from the site and another 100 were evacuated from surrounding buildings.
A fire broke out on the crane shortly before 9:40am (AEDT) on Tuesday morning, causing traffic delays as Broadway was closed.
Emergency crews were forced to withdraw to a safe distance after the crane tower shook which the boom collapsed, according to Fire and Rescue NSW acting superintendent Josh Turner, who says the immediate priority revolved around keeping the crane stable.
“We are not committing any fire fighters to go up until we ascertain the structural integrity of the crane” he says, adding that the fire has been contained to within the cabin and fire crews were attempting to position the ladder platforms nearby in an effort to better tackle the blaze.
The crane operator made it safely down from the crane and was being medically assessed, and a spokesman for construction site manager LendLease, the company in charge of the construction site, says the company believes that no-one was injured.
A recent study in the United Kingdom by the Health and Safety Executive documented a worldwide total of 86 incidents involving the collapse or significant structural failure of tower cranes over the twenty year period to 2009.
That report suggested causes of collapses included accidents when erecting/dismantling/extending cranes, extreme weather, foundation issues, mechanical or structural issues, misuse and problems with electrical control systems.