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Four killed by tower crane collapse at new Google headquarters

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Four people have died following the collapse of a tower crane at the new Google Campus in Seattle in the United States.  

Fire crews responded to the collapse on Saturday afternoon after the tower crane fell onto the building before toppling on to the intersection of Mercer Street and Fairview Avenue close to Interstate 5 – one of the busiest streets in the city.  

Two craneworkers and two passersby died in the collapse, in which debris from the crane hit six vehicles.  

The 12-storey, 30,000m² structure is the third building in the new Google Campus which is being developed by Vulcan Real Estate. 

No official cause has been given, but US government weather data shows local wind speeds of of around 16km/h at the time of the collapse, with gusts reaching up to 54km/h in the city on the day.  

Wind operating limits for tower cranes vary due to the model of crane and lift load. The British Health & Safety Executive and the Construction Plant-hire Association Tower Crane Interest Group recommended in 2014 that all tower cranes in the UK be taken out of service in conditions exceeding 60km/h.   

Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan said: “I am incredibly grateful to the first responders with the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Fire Department, who rushed to the scene to provide aid and treat those injured. I also want to thank the community who pulled together to help people”. 

“Determining how and why this tragedy happened will take time. The City of Seattle, including the Seattle Police Department, will continue to work with the Washington State Department of Labour & Industries so they can complete a thorough investigation into the causes of this incident,” the mayor added.  

Washington State Department of Labour and Industries is investigating the collapse. 

A Google spokesperson said: “we were saddened to learn of the 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.”

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