Note: The above video is from KING in Seattle about a crane collapse Saturday that killed four people.
SPOKANE, Wash. — On Saturday, a crane collapsed in Seattle, killing four people and injuring four others.
The tragedy has raised a lot of questions about the safety of cranes and how often these types of incidents happen: How many people have died in this way? Has this ever happened in Spokane?
Seattle has a high number of cranes
Seattle is one of the nation’s leaders in the number of cranes that operate in the city.
Rider Levett Bucknall, an international firm that tracks the number of cranes in major cities, said that Seattle has 59 cranes as of January 2019. That is more than any other United States city, but trails Toronto, which has 104 cranes.
According to the Associated Press, Seattle also topped the charts for number of cranes in the United States in 2018 with 65.
Seattle had 58 cranes at one point in 2016, according to the Seattle Times.
While it may have a high number of cranes, deaths stemming from crane-related incidents seem rare. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration data from 2009-2017, no deaths from crane incidents were reported in Seattle.
Cranes in Spokane
According to data from 2009-2017 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there has not been a death in Spokane caused by an incident involving a crane.
KREM also attempted to find any mention of a death in Spokane involving a crane and could not find any.
According to KREM Reporter Shayna Waltower, there are three cranes currently visible in the downtown Spokane area. There is also a crane in the downtown Coeur d’Alene area.
Common causes of crane-related deaths
Research on the causes of crane-related deaths is somewhat uncommon, with the most recent studies appearing to have come in 2009 and 2015.
According to a November 2009 report by the Center for Construction Training and Research, 632 crane-related deaths happened between 1992 and 2006. The main cause of death in these incidents were electrocution, which came in at 25 percent.
The next leading cause was being struck by a crane load, which accounted for 21 percent of deaths. Being struck by a crane or parts of a crane was the third-leading cause at 20 percent, and crane collapses was only the fourth-most common at 14 percent, according to the CCTR study. Falling resulted in 9 percent of deaths.
A 2015 report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 220 crane-related deaths occurred between 2011 and 2015. Over half of these came when a worker was struck by an object or equipment, and 60 of these deaths came when an object fell from a crane, according to the report.
Transportation incidents and falls from a crane both made up 14 percent of these deaths, according to the report.
As for where these deaths occur, Texas had the most from 2011 to 2015, with 40, according to the BLS. The next four highest states — Illinois, Florida, California and Pennsylvania — had 43 combined in that same time period.
The BLS lists no deaths caused by cranes in Washington from 2011-2015. However, one man died in a crane collapse in Bellevue in 2006, according to the Seattle Times.
The deadliest crane incident in world history was a collapse in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, which killed 111 in 2015, according to the Associated Press. The deadliest American crane incident was also a collapse, with six dying and 24 people sustaining injuries when crane in New York collapsed in 2008, according to the CCRT.
The incident in Seattle on Saturday was also a collapse.