Horrific crane accident kills operator in central Lisbon

A horrific crane accident in which the whole suspension arm gave way and crashed onto two buildings – killing the operator at the controls – caused panic and traffic snarl-ups in Lisbon yesterday afternoon.

People in the adjoining blocks have described a “massive crash”, a cloud of dust and then the horrible realisation that someone was lying desperately injured under a surreal scene of devastation, 30 metres above the ground.

“One of his arms was moving but he made no sound. I knew straight away that he wasn’t going to survive,” eyewitness José Carimbo told reporters.

The freak accident appears to have been caused by a mechanical fault, explains Correio da Manhã.

It happened shortly after 3.15pm, but it took rescue workers over an hour to recover the fatally injured operator – a 37-year-old Angolan known, according to Jornal de Notícias, as “the Englishman”.

Over 300 EDP personnel in one of the buildings hit were evacuated “as a precaution” as fire-fighters sought to assess the damage.

Gathered in the street, worried workers talked of the “huge crash” and the fact that the building shuddered.

According to reports, the crane had been in place for “almost a year”.

The hotel building project, in the hands of HCI Construções, has “already caused one death”, EDP workers told CM, but this has not been confirmed by the building company.

Two large cranes were brought in to start dismantling the damaged structure in Rua Camilo Castelo Branco, alongside Avenida Duque de Loulé, while the victim was rushed to the city’s São José Hospital where he died.

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