OTTAWA – Several people died when a construction crane collapsed Monday while it was being dismantled on the site of a 25-story condominium project in downtown Kelowna, British Columbia, police said.
Videos and photos from the crime scene showed that the standing part of the crane used to build the residential tower was still standing, but the remains of its boom were scattered over several adjacent buildings. Authorities ordered the evacuation of buildings near the site and declared a state of emergency on Monday evening.
Inspector Adam MacIntosh, the chief of operations for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Kelowna, a popular tourist destination in the Okanagan Valley, said there had been “multiple confirmed deaths” but declined to say how many people had died or no information about they give.
Inspector MacIntosh told reporters that around 11 a.m., the crane collapsed, damaged a nearby office building and left debris on the roof of a nursing home. The evacuation took place as the engineers began assessing the damage to the buildings and the stability of the remaining part of the crane.
Speaking at a press conference, Jonathan Friesen, the executive director of Mission Group, the real estate company that developed the property, said that around 100 people were working on the property at the time of the collapse.
Mr Friesen said the victims were all subcontractors, not his company.
“It doesn’t matter whose employee you were,” he said. “They were on our side and lost their lives through their work.”
Inspector MacIntosh said officers were investigating the disappearance of someone who was not on the construction team.
Krista Roessing, a Kelowna resident, told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that she was driving past the site at the time of the collapse.
“It looked like the crane was moving, but then I realized that where it was operating it wasn’t moving enough to come down,” she said.
The collapse resulted in a power outage in several buildings in the city center, including the police.
Since the collapse was an industrial accident, Inspector MacIntosh said, the investigation is being led by the provincial agency, which offers job insurance and sets safety standards.
Emmett Lindner contributed to the reporting.