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Devastating Tower Crane Collapsed In Kelowna, Canada. Five Killed.

20210714 kelowa tower crane collapse

The tower crane collapsed in downtown Kelowna, British Columbia on 12th July, killing five and injuring others at the job site.

Kelowna is located near Okanagan Lake, about 240 miles west of Vancouver and about 90 miles north of the Canada/U.S. border.

Evacuations were ordered in a 250-foot radius of the crane. As the crane collapsed, the jib and mast sections were strewn over several adjacent buildings, according to the news report. There were about 100 personnel working on the job site when the tower crane collapsed.

Here is one of the news sources reporting on the incident:

The incident is currently being investigated by several Canadian authorities.

The tower crane has been working on building a 25-storey residential condominium project under Mission Group and is set to be completed in October this year. It has been reported that the tower crane belongs to another company, not by Mission Group themselves.

Canada Minister of Labour has issued a statement offering condolences to the families, friends and co-workers of the victims.

“All workers have the right to a safe and healthy workplace – even one injury or death is too many. This is a heartbreaking reminder that we must strive to ensure the safety of all workers to prevent incidents like this from happening.

I thank the emergency personnel and investigators now on scene. Agencies including WorkSafeBC, the BC Coroners Service and the RCMP are now investigating. We will have more to say as further details become available.”

Harry Bains, Canada Minister of Labour

It has been known that the erectors were dismantling the tower crane when the top part of the tower crane collapsed.

Why Could Have Gone Wrong?

A Canadian Youtuber AvE has released a video to offer his views on why this accident happened.

Meanwhile, another Instagrammer has also expressed his views on the loss of fellows of his same trade.

Updates (15th August 2021)

The dead workers were identified by family and friends as brothers Eric Stemmer, superintendent, and Patrick Stemmer, crane operator, for the family-owned Stemmer Construction company, crane rigger Jared Zook, 32, and Cailen Vilness, 23. The fifth victim, civil engineering technologist Brad Zawislak, was working in a neighbouring office building.

The deaths of the five and the cause of the crane collapse are now the subjects of three separate investigations by the BC Coroners Service, the RCMP and WorkSafeBC.

Union calls for more crane training and safety

In the wake of the Kelowna tragedy, various building unions are calling for improved safety regulations, including mandatory training and certification of workers who assemble and dismantle cranes. “We are deeply saddened by this catastrophic accident,” said Frank Carr, International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 115 business manager. “We need to do what we can to make sure it never happens again.”

Carr’s statement commits the IUOE, which represents heavy machine operators and others in the province’s construction industry, to absolutely nothing. Treacherous working conditions have been well known in the industry for decades. In 2019, construction accounted for 33 of BC’s 203 officially recognized workplace deaths, the largest of any industry.

Carr himself claims that his union has been lobbying for proper training and certification of crane workers for two decades. This includes during the past four years when the union-backed, purportedly “worker-friendly” NDP has formed the provincial government and done nothing to improve crane safety.

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