The Sydney Morning Herald
Wolli Creek crane secured as residents wait to return home
Josh Dye, Cameron Mee
AUGUST 6 2017
Close to two hundred residents have been forced to spend the night elsewhere, after a crane collapsed into an apartment complex in Wolli Creek in Sydney's south.
The crane that collapsed onto a block of Wolli Creek apartments on Sunday morning has been safely stabilised and secured, allowing trains on the T2 Airport line to reopen.
Around 160 people from the 88 apartments in the building impacted by the crane's fall have had to be accommodated elsewhere after being evacuated on Sunday morning.
They were allowed to enter the building to collect essential items required until they can permanently return.
Another 300 residents from two neighbouring apartments were allowed to return home after the crane was declared stable.
The collapsed crane left as many as 500 people unable to return home on Sunday. Photo: Michele Mossop
In good news for commuters, trains resumed on Sunday night after buses replaced trains between Central and Turrella for most of Sunday.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union condemned the incident and called for a temporary halt to construction of all new cantilever cranes across the state until an independent engineers' report had been conducted.
"It could have been catastrophic, there could have been fatalities," CFMEU NSW state secretary Brian Parker told Fairfax Media.
"There's no doubt there's been more than just mechanical failure here," Mr Parker said. "We've got no doubt whatsoever that it hasn't been engineered correctly."
Onlookers watch as authorities work to stabilise the crane. Photo: Michele Mossop
Mr Parker also expressed broader concerns, claiming he had seen some engineers sign off on safety inspections without physically attending the work site.
He added that he had seen some companies deliberately avoid hiring engineers who were "very meticulous".
The base of the crane which collapsed and injured three men. Photo: Michele Mossop
"We have an industry built on production rather than safety. We don't want that situation to continue," he said.
Commuters face possible public transport delays on Monday after the T2 Airport line remained partially closed on Sunday night. Photo: Michele Mossop
Authorities including NSW Fire & Rescue experts, engineers and NSW Police worked into Sunday evening in an attempt to stabilise and secure the crane.
Work will begin on Monday morning to dismantle the crane, Fire & Rescue spokesman Josh Turner said.
The view from a neighbouring window after the crane crashed onto the penthouse of a block of apartments at Wolli Creek. Photo: Felicia Nguyen
The crane is believed to have been in the process of being set up when it fell backwards, slamming into the penthouse apartment and causing structural damage to the upper levels and roof of the building.
A Wolli Creek resident described how another crane was forced to rescue the stranded driver.
"The man from the white crane (which crashed), he jumped over to the rooftop of the penthouse. So they (the second crane) went to the rooftop and picked him up," Felicia Nguyen said.
Mr Turner assured residents there was no threat of the building collapsing.
"The building itself is quite stable, the damage is just up to the roof area," he said.
However, concerns that the crane may shift position and fall onto the street or surrounding buildings saw four other buildings evacuated.
Paramedics treated three male workers at the scene for minor injuries before they were transported to St George Hospital.
Mr Parker said one man sustained suspected ligament damage to his knee, another received stitches to an arm, while the third had minor cuts, bruising and abrasions.
Investigators from SafeWork NSW spent Sunday at the site to determine the cause of the incident, but declined to comment further until investigations were completed.
Probuild, the construction company responsible for the building the crane was anchored to, could not be contacted for comment.