Florida Crane Collapse Kills Construction Worker, Injures 3

OSHA is investigating what led to a partial crane collapse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on April 4 that killed one construction worker and injured three others.

According to the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Facebook Page, the accident occurred while “stepping the crane,” or adding additional sections to elevate the crane, during the construction of a new apartment complex.

At 4:30 p.m., a large section of the tower crane fell hundreds of feet onto a drawbridge with active traffic below. It hit a vehicle, bounced off and hit the bridge, and landed on a second vehicle, according to witnesses.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Chief Stephen Gollan said at a news conference following the incident that the crane itself did not experience a failure. A platform that held equipment failed, causing the items from the platform to fall onto the bridge.

Twenty-seven-year-old Georgia native Jorge de la Torre was identified by Fort Lauderdale Police as the deceased construction worker. Police said he fell with the load off the side of the building, which was under construction when the crane collapsed, and succumbed to his injuries.

The occupants of the struck vehicles were among the injured. One was transported to the hospital in stable condition, another with minor injuries and a third had minor injuries but refused further treatment.

Mark Cerezin, a driver of a car that was crushed by the crane section, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel, he felt as if “something was coming,” slammed on his brakes, and “this big, huge, massive piece of blue steel” fell onto his car. He got out of his vehicle “in a state of shock.” “I’m just grateful to be able to go home to my wife and to my friends,” he told the newspaper.

The crane’s impact caused a hole in the drawbridge. It was inspected by the Florida Department of Transportation and reopened after rush hour on April 5.

OSHA is investigating Phoenix Rigging & Erecting, Kast Construction and Maxim Crane Works. Kast Construction of West Palm Beach, Florida, received an OSHA citation and fine in July 2023 for failure to provide fall protection for workers.

The Fort Lauderdale Police are conducting a separate investigation on the death of De la Torre. De la Torre leaves behind a wife and two young children, ages 2 and 5. A GoFundMe account was started by his wife, Joselyn Farias, to offset the costs of his funeral.

Additional images shared by Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue are below:

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Florida Crane Collapse 2