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Five men dead in Kelowna crane collapse

The top part of this crane needs to be removed before efforts can start to recover the body of a man believed buried in a neighbouring business.
July 13, 2021 - 11:57 AM

Five workers were killed when a construction crane collapsed in downtown Kelowna yesterday.

One man died in hospital and the other three men died at the site of the industrial accident.

The fifth man, believed to be a worker in a consulting firm that was hit by the crane when it fell, is buried in rubble.

“That individual’s body has not been recovered,” RCMP Insp. Adam MacIntosh said at a press briefing today, July 12. “He’s believed to be deceased.”

Insp. MacIntosh thinks the crane operator is one of those killed.

One worker was injured and taken to hospital but released as his injuries were not serious. There may have been other minor injuries but the RCMP did not have any numbers on how many.

Engineers are evaluating the site with the hopes of removing the part of the crane that is still standing next to the Brooklyn apartment tower. That’s deemed to be necessary to make the site safe for workers to try to recover the body.

“At the initial onset, when ambulance, fire and police arrived, I think it was extremely dangerous,” MacIntosh said. “There was a genuine risk that that could come down on further rescue workers."

Police could not say how many neighbouring residents were evacuated or when they might be allowed back home.

A specialized team is coming from Vancouver to start removing debris, when it’s safe to do so, MacIntosh said.

He’s hoping, if all goes well, the body will be recovered this afternoon and streets will be reopened later today.

The area bounded by St. Paul Street, Bertram, Doyle and Bernard avenues is currently closed.

No names of the dead are being released at this time and all the next of kin have been notified, including the man still buried in the rubble, MacIntosh said.

The BC Coroners Service is investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths, while the Kelowna RCMP Serious Crime Unit is investigating to determine if criminality was involved.

If you witnessed this incident, have not yet spoken to police, or have any information about this incident, you are urged to call the Kelowna RCMP Serious Crime Unit at 250-762-3300.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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