Four people died and four others were injured after a crane collapsed in Seattle’s busy South Lake Union neighborhood on Saturday. The crane is part of a new Google building under construction at Fairview Avenue North and Mercer Street, just feet from Amazon’s headquarters.
The incident at Fairview Ave N and involved a crane that fell into traffic. 5 cars were crushed. There are a total of 4 fatalities, and 3 injured patients that have been transferred to the hospital. pic.twitter.com/HM3PBZ5Udt
— Seattle Fire Dept. (@SeattleFire) April 27, 2019
When emergency workers arrived at the scene, there were four people dead — two crane operators and two people in separate vehicles, according to Seattle Fire Department Chief Harold Scoggins, who held a press briefing Saturday afternoon.
— Victor Hernandez (@ToTheVictor) April 28, 2019
The Google Cloud logo is visible on the building, which was damaged from the collapse. In a statement to GeekWire, a Google spokesperson said:
We were saddened to learn of today’s accident at South Lake Union. We share our deepest condolences with those who’ve been affected and thank all the first responders who quickly sprang into action. We are in communication with Vulcan who is managing the site and working with the local authorities on the ground.
“Determining how and why this tragedy happened will take time,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement late Saturday. “The City of Seattle, including the Seattle Police Department, will continue to work with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries so they can complete a thorough investigation into the causes of this incident. SDOT will also ensure any road repairs are complete.”
HAPPENING NOW: on the scene of a crane collapse at Fairview & Mercer in #Seattle. The crane fell off a Google building under construction and onto at least 4 cars bellow. @KIRO7Seattle for the latest. pic.twitter.com/qIv3l8KMTj
— Tyler Unwin (@TylerUnwin) April 27, 2019
Breaking News: A crane collapsed, crushing several cars on Mercer Street in South Lake Union https://t.co/JkRgWA65ZA
— Michael Spears (@MichaelKIRO7) April 27, 2019
Officials shut down several blocks along Mercer Street until Sunday.
UPDATE: Mercer St to be closed from Fairview Ave N to 9th Ave N until tomorrow. Use alternate routes and avoid the area. pic.twitter.com/L3hLkX8JKK
— SDOT Traffic (@SDOTtraffic) April 28, 2019
The scene on Mercer and Fairview at the moment pic.twitter.com/SiZopzk2rC
— Frank Kuin (@frankkuin) April 28, 2019
— bert_24 (@aborja24) April 28, 2019
Google planned to begin moving into its new South Lake Union campus this summer. The campus, first announced in 2016 and developed by Vulcan, consists of two blocks with 607,000 square feet of office space and 149 apartments. Google also last year leased a third nearby block.
GLY Construction, the general contractor for the new Google buildings, issued this statement.
“We are deeply saddened and heartbroken by what happened at our job site on the northwest corner of Mercer and Fairview in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. Our sympathy and deepest condolences go out to the families, friends and colleagues of those who were killed in this tragic accident. We are hopeful for those who have been injured and wish that they return to full health as quickly as possible.
GLY and its sub-contractors involved with this tower crane accident are doing everything we can to investigate the incident. We are cooperating fully with investigators and assisting the local authorities. At this early stage of the investigation, we have no further details. We will share additional information as it becomes available. All inquiries regarding the tower crane accident should be directed to the authorities at this time.”
The Seattle Times reported that Northwest Crane Services was a subcontractor on the Google project — the same company also managed the crane that collapsed in November 2006 in nearby Bellevue, damaging buildings and killing a Microsoft lawyer.
KING5 obtained dash-cam footage of the crane collapsing.
The four victims include Sarah Wong, a 19-year-old freshman at Seattle Pacific University; Andrew Yoder, a 31-year-old ironworker who previously served in the Marines; Travis Corbet, a 33-year-old ironworker who was also an ex-Marine; and Alan Justad, a 71-year-old former deputy director of the department of planning and development for the City of Seattle.
“The City of Seattle family has lost a true public servant,” Durkan said in a statement Monday. “Alan was a friend to many at the City of Seattle during his decades of outstanding service to our great City. Alan was respected for his commitment to service, his warmth, and his relentless belief in doing good for Seattle. So many in Seattle are grieving today as they absorb this terrible news. I’m holding Alan’s family and loved ones in my thoughts as they mourn this loss. This accident was tough for so many in our community – from our ironworkers to Seattle Pacific University to the City of Seattle family, and we continue to send our deepest condolences to those who lost ones they knew and loved.”
In the South Lake Union neighborhood, Google is battling for talent with homegrown giants such as Amazon, which employs more than 45,000 people at its HQ, as well as Facebook, which is rapidly growing its own footprint in Seattle.
Google first arrived in the Seattle area 15 years ago and now has roughly 3,400 employees in the region today. The new campus will significantly boost its capacity to hire more engineers in a talent-rich ecosystem that also includes nearly 120 out-of-town tech companies have also established engineering centers, in addition to Microsoft and Amazon’s headquarters.
Seattle has ranked No. 1 for the most cranes in America each year since 2016 thanks to growth driven in part by the region’s tech industry.
We’ll update this post as more information becomes available.