Workers hurt, I-95 SB lanes closed after crane collapse in Fort Lauderdale
FORT LAUDERDALE --Two workers were hurt along with three firefighters and a police officer responding to the scene after an accident Monday morning that involved a huge construction crane performing work on Interstate 95 in Fort Lauderdale, authorities said.
The accident occurred shortly before 11 a.m. in the southbound lanes of I-95 between Sunrise and Broward boulevards.
One of the construction workers was critically injured while another one was listed in stable condition. Three firefighters and a police officer involved in a crash while responding to the scene were taken to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries, authorities said.
Officials said the incident occurred when a crane lifting some pilings toppled over when the ground underneath shifted. It hit a cherry picker or an aerial work platform, also known as a bucket truck.
Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "The ground underneath the crane gave way and caused a move in a manner that they had the pilings fall towards the boom the workers were in."
Gollan said OSHA, the Occupational and Safety Administration, was on site along with representatives of the crane company.
Two workers who were on the crane plunged 30 feet to the ground.
The accident occurred during the mid-morning commute and resulted in lengthy traffic gridlock with some motorists reporting being stuck for up to an hour in bumper-to-bumper gridlock.
Guadaloupe Flores, who works as an I-95 Express Courier, said, "It was almost two hours that I was stuck in the same spot. It came to a complete stop maybe a quarter mile before the Broward Boulevard exit. It was hot. We were nervous. Is worried I would run out of gas. How is everyone going to get off the highway."
Flores said after two hours, traffic in the southbound lanes was diverted to the northbound lanes and she was able to escape. Now she worries about the injured construction workers.
She said, "I feel so sad for them. I thought something worse happened to them. I sent prayers out to their families. I hope they get better."
It was not immediately clear when the lanes would reopen. A spokeswoman for the Florida Highway Patrol said crews were waiting for heavy equipment to remove a crane that was on site.
Motorists were urged to avoid the area and find alternate routes.
Motorists could take the Florida Turnpike to avoid delays from the accident.
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