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1 dead after crane incident in Vancouver

Crane load fell onto under-construction building

B.C.’s premier and minister of labour are sharing their heartfelt condolences after a worker was killed in Vancouver’s Oakridge neighbourhood when a load from a crane fell on a building under construction.

The joint statement from David Eby and Harry Bains said “Every worker deserves to return home safely at the end of the day and this incident is a stark reminder of the importance of workplace safety.”

It also thanked the first responders, B.C. Coroners Service and WorkSafeBC for their collective efforts.

Matthew Trudeau with Vancouver Fire Rescue Services confirmed the fatality hours after the load fell Wednesday afternoon, hitting several floors of the unfinished multi-storey building.

He could not confirm what the load contained, but says it struck the floors about 25 storeys up.

Trudeau says about 1,700 workers were evacuated from the site near Oakridge Mall.

Firefighters were called to the city’s busy Cambie Street and quickly blocked off a four-block stretch of the road.

Trudeau says tactical crews were to remain on the site to ensure building materials were secure as some of the exterior was damaged when the load fell.

“We’re working with the construction companies and contractors (and) they’ve been really helpful, as well as the (Emergency Health Services) and police. We’ve got WorkSafeBC (members) that are here on scene,” he said. “The primary goal is for us to make sure everything is stabilized.”

B.C. Emergency Health Services said in a statement that two ambulances had been dispatched to the scene but paramedics did not transport any patients to the hospital.

Ashley Gregerson of WorkSafeBC, the provincial worker safety agency, said in a separate statement that the “serious incident” happened around 3 p.m. at an Oakridge Mall work site, but did not provide specifics.

WorkSafeBC sent prevention officers to the site and “mobilized” its occupation health and safety investigations team, she said.

Coltin Lillico, an employee at Crate & Barrel in the nearby mall, said he is not sure of the specifics of what happened, but confirmed the shopping centre remained open and that the furniture store was “functioning normally.”

“All I know is there was a blockage on the road and they had to clear it out,” he said in an interview about an hour after the load fell.

READ ALSO: RCMP recommend charges in Kelowna fatal crane collapse

Damage is seen after a load fell from the top of the building smashing multiple floors of the Oakridge Mall construction in Vancouver, B.C. on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns
Construction workers gather outside of the Oakridge Mall site after a load on a crane fell off smashing multiple floors of the building in Vancouver, B.C. on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns

About the Author: Ashley Wadhwani-Smith

I began my journalistic journey at Black Press Media as a community reporter in my hometown of Maple Ridge, B.C.
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