Five dead after collapse of crane in Kelowna, B.C.
KELOWNA, B.C.—The body of a fifth man killed in the collapse of a construction crane in Kelowna, B.C., has been recovered.
A statement from the RCMP says the body was found late July 13 as members of a specialized urban search and rescue crew from Vancouver were able to enter a building beside the construction site.
Authorities have said the man was buried by rubble when the arm of the crane fell more than 25 storeys on Monday, landing on the building he was working in.
Police have said four other men, all workers at the high-rise construction project, also died after the crane collapsed. Three died at the scene, the fourth was rushed to hospital, where he died. Another person was treated for minor injuries and released.
The cause of the collapse remains under investigation by WorkSafeBC, the BC Coroners Service and the Kelowna RCMP.
Due to the instability of the remaining portion of the crane, an evacuation order is still in effect for homes, businesses and a senior’s complex near the scene but police say it’s hoped that will be can be rescinded once the crane is dismantled.
The building next door housed a consulting business of some kind, Insp. Adam MacIntosh said in a press conference Tuesday.
He would not speculate about the cause of the collapse, but said workers were getting ready to take the crane down or were in the process of dismantling it.
“Why exactly that crane collapsed, that’s a part of the investigation,” he said.
“Obviously, something catastrophic occurred.”
The RCMP are investigating to ensure the collapse was not criminal in nature and a WorkSafeBC investigation will also determine what occurred, he said.
The crane operator is believed to be among the dead.
The collapse knocked out power for most of Kelowna’s downtown core and prompted an evacuation order for surrounding homes and businesses. Some people remained displaced from a neighbouring seniors residence on Tuesday, MacIntosh said.
The head of Mission Group, the development company building the residential tower, said Monday that he didn’t know what caused the crane to fall.
Jonathan Friesen said the company’s staff and subtrades were in a state of shock and grief counselling had been offered to anyone who needed it.
Premier John Horgan called the collapse tragic, saying it was “an event that, quite honestly, you don’t expect to happen on a sunny July day here in British Columbia.”
“Yet, it can happen,” he told a news conference. “We need to redouble our efforts on workplace safety and any of the findings that WorkSafe brings forward or the coroner brings forward, we’ll certainly be implementing right across the province.
—With files from Alistair Waters in Kelowna, B.C.