A construction crane fell at the National Cathedral as thunderstorms rolled through the city, but it appears that there were no injuries.
The crane was working on repairs to the Cathedral caused by August’s earthquake that rocked Washington DC. Three of the cathedral’s four main spires damaged by the quake.
Construction crews were lifting steel I-beams to the roof area where the earthquake damage occured. The 500 ft crane had been extended 350 ft in the air at the time of the collapse.
“As they were returning to take more steel I-beams up there, the crane somehow malfunctioned and collapsed,” said Timothy Gerhart, assistant chief of operations, DC Fire and EMS.
The mangled remains of the yellow crane were left splayed on top of several vehicles, none of which were occupied at the time of the collapse. The cab of the crane stood straight up into the air, at a 90 degree angle.
“The cars look fairly well smashed,” said Craig Stapert, a cathedral spokesman. ”It seems to have clipped part of the Herb Cottage, and it came very, very close here to the offices of the bishop. But no one was in either of those buildings.”
It was not clear whether the driving thunderstorm that struck Washington Wednesday morning played a part in the incident.
The cathedral has been preparing to re-open after the earthquake damage for the first time this weekend’s services honoring the 10th anniversary of September 11th. President Obama is scheduled to speak at an interfaith ceremony there on the evening of Sept 11th.