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Efforts underway to recover crane operator's body

Posted: November 4, 2011 - 12:20pm

Efforts are underway to recover the body of a crane operator who was trapped inside a 25-ton crane in North Douglas Thursday. The man was presumed to be dead, and authorities confirmed Friday morning the man died in the accident.

Police say next to kin have been notified, but they have not yet released his name.

Responding police officers on scene at the accident say the man reportedly was lifting and moving objects with the crane on a barge on the Gastineau Channel at the Trucano Construction site in North Douglas when it toppled over shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

“He apparently tried jumping out and was crushed,” said one responding officer on Friday, who could not give his name since he was not authorized to speak about the accident.

Crews found that the operator could not be extracted due to concerns regarding the stability of the scene. The barge had toppled over and was half in the water and half on the barge. Chains were attached to the crane to keep it from falling in the water on Thursday.

On Friday morning, JPD, Capital City Fire and Rescue crews and members of the Coast Guard collaborated to develop a plan to right the crane on the barge and then extract the body.

By 11 a.m., a crane donated from another construction company South Douglas began lifting the crane from its side. CCFR Chief Richard Etheridge said fire crews would then use the Jaws of Life device to extract the body.

Coast Guard member Jonathan Dale said the Coast Guard developed a site safety plan for all parties involved in the recovery efforts, and provided a patrol boat to monitor the scene.

The cause of the accident had yet to be determined.

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