| GEO World|
| Crane collapses on block of flats|
| Updated at: 1714 PST, Tuesday, July 07, 2009|
LIVERPOOL: A crane has collapsed onto a block of flats in Liverpool, seriously injuring the driver and forcing the building to be evacuated. Merseyside fire service said the crane and its five-tonne weight smashed through the block in Chandlers Wharf in the city centre at midday. Eight crews and a search and rescue unit were sent to the scene.
The crane driver, who has not been named, was thrown out of the cab onto the roof. He was taken to hospital and is believed to be in a stable condition.
The crane was working on a new block of flats close to the waterfront when the accident happened. Investigations have begun into why the crane arm ripped through the penthouse down through several floors of the four-storey block.
Sarah Banfield was in the building with her boyfriend when they heard a large bang. "The whole building shuddered. We grabbed hold of each other because it seemed to go on for ages, we thought it was an earthquake."
She said there was dust everywhere and the emergency exit was full of falling debris.
"I stepped across a hole in the floor which had bits of metal sticking out of it, I don't know how I did it. We got across and started running downstairs but there was no way out on the ground floor because the door was blocked.
"We ran back upstairs to the second floor where a builder helped get us out."
Another resident at the flats said she watched in horror as the massive red crane tumbled onto the block. "I was in complete shock as all I could think of is what if it had fallen the other way round and landed on me. I would surely have died."
James Berry, group manager for Merseyside Fire and Rescue, said: "It's fortunate that, at that time of the day, the majority of flats would have been unoccupied."
The Health and Safety Executive confirmed it was investigating.