1 dead as crane load falls onto Vancouver mall site under construction

Stakeholders remain in the building to building materials were secure for safety

1 dead as crane load falls onto Vancouver mall site under construction

One person died after a crane load fell on them at a mall site under construction in Vancouver on Wednesday.

The incident happened around 3 p.m., when a tower crane dropped its load onto a building under construction in the Oakridge neighbourhood.

Workers from the Vancouver Fire Rescue Services (VFRS), Vancouver police, B.C. Emergency Health Services and WorkSafeBC responded to the incident.

"It appears that the load was somehow dislodged or came off of the crane while it was lifting, fell against the building and then fell onto a worker or a person at the bottom," said Matthew Trudeau, VFRS public information officer, in a CBC report.

"We're confirming the details of the individual, as far as [them] being a worker." 

The load first struck the floors of the building around 25 storeys up, he said.

About 1,700 workers evacuated the site.

B.C. Emergency Health Services dispatched two ambulances to the scene, but paramedics did not transport any patients to the hospital, according to a report from The Canadian Press published on the National Post.

The “serious incident” happened around 3 p.m. at an Oakridge Mall work site, said Ashley Gregerson of WorkSafeBC, according to the report. 

"WorkSafeBC has sent prevention officers to the site, and WorkSafeBC's [occupation health and safety] investigations team has been mobilized," the agency said in a statement, according to CBC.

Trudeau added 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.”

Condolences to fatality’s family

In a joint statement B.C. Premier David Eby and labour minister Harry Bains expressed condolences to the family of the person killed in the incident.

“We are saddened by the fatal incident involving a tower crane at the Oakridge Park construction site. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the victim,” they 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.

Brian Cochrane, from International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 115, also expressed sympathies for the workers at the site and "the families of those affected,” according to the CBC report.

"This serves as a reminder of the need to improve the regulatory environment to the highest level along with adequate enforcement," he said.

Eby and Bains also recognized "the essential work being done by the agencies on site, including Vancouver Fire Rescue Services, the Vancouver Police Department, the B.C. Coroners Service and WorkSafeBC".