date 24 july 2018
About 300 people have been evacuated in Melbourne after heavy winds damaged a 40-meter crane, leaving it in danger of collapsing.
The crane is on a building site in Lennox Street, Richmond, and was damaged around 11pm on Monday but work to stabilise it can’t begin until daylight. The arm of the crane was blown backwards and “badly bent”, according to emergency services. Some 300 people living on the south-west side of the crane were evacuated for safety reasons.
Heavy winds hit Melbourne overnight and another warning has been issued for Victoria on Tuesday. Damaging winds averaging 60 to 70km/h with peak gusts of around 90km/h are expected as a cold front moves eastwards across the state.
A second crane has been delivered to the worksite. It is expected to take engineers several days to dismantle the crane. Local Victoria Police commander Rebecca Draper-Schultheiss said WorkSafe, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) and the crane company were on site trying to make the area safe.
"We've evacuated a 100-metre-square radius around the area," she said. "We're doing that to protect residents and protect the area. The operation was likely to go into Wednesday while strong winds remained. We're a little bit dictated to on how quickly we can move because of the inclement weather. We'll work with them as quickly as we can. Hopefully, they'll be back in their homes tomorrow at some point."
WorkSafe's Michael Coffey said the incident was being investigated. He said it was not the first time WorkSafe had visited the site. The owner of the crane hire company, Clark Cranes, told Melbourne radio station 3AW it appeared to him that the arm of the crane had not been left in the right position.
"Overnight they need to be left down at a certain radius, depending on the jib (arm) length, so the wind can grab and move the crane around of a night time," Michael Clark said. "But if it's left up too high the wind can actually grab the boom and push it backwards."