skip to main content
caption:  The crane that collapsed at Fairview Avenue and Mercer Street in downtown Seattle ... five hours before it fell.
Enlarge Icon
The crane that collapsed at Fairview Avenue and Mercer Street in downtown Seattle ... five hours before it fell.
Credit: Courtesy of Christopher Collinson

Crane collapse: Four companies being investigated, including one involved in 2006 crash

Four people — including a freshman at Seattle Pacific University and two iron workers helping to dismantle the crane — were killed.

Seattle Pacific University identified the student as Sarah Wong in a release. Wong had been in a car on Mercer Street when the crane fell. She was a freshman who planned on majoring in nursing, and who lived on campus, according to the statement.

Four companies are being investigated in connection with the crane collapse, per Washington state’s Department of Labor & Industries: GLY, Northwest Tower Crane Services Inc, Omega Rigging and Machinery Moving, & Morrow Equipment Company, L.L.C.

Northwest Crane Tower was also involved in the crane collapse in Bellevue, in 2006, which resulted in the death of a 31-year-old man.

Saturday was moving day for Zach Romano.

Romano was headed back to his old place to get another car load.

As he drove down Mercer Street in downtown Seattle, he noticed it was windy outside.

“There were four green lights in a row, like they were all synced up, and then the last one turned red and I was like, wow that was weird,” he said. “I thought they would all be in sync."

At the light, he heard a loud noise. A car crash, he wondered? He looked around. And then he saw it: a large yellow structure that looked like it was hanging off the roof of a building.

“I realized it was falling down, and then it just hit the road right next to me,” Romano said. He was in shock. He estimated that the crane had fallen 15 to 20 feet from his car.

At 3:28 p.m., emergency radios began to light up. The crane had pinned down six cars. Four people were dead. Four were injured, including a woman and her 4-month-old baby.

A gash was visible on the side of a nearby building, several windows missing. Another chunk of crane still lying on the roof above. One witness said it was like being in an action movie but on slow motion while paralyzed.

Romano said people rushed to help those stuck in cars.

Eric Bruce Cashmere was among them.

"Kabang! Down she come,” Cashmere said. “I knew what it was. I was straight out the door and straight down. Because I knew that it wasn't going to be nice."

Cashmere, who is from Australia, was in Seattle with his son who is getting treated for leukemia. He said they had been watching the crane all day, interested in the dismantling process. And then increasingly concerned because it appeared to them to be leaning.

“I said to me son, I said it's gonna fall,” Cashmere said. “And it did, it fell."

Out on the street, Cashmere reached a car that had been pinned by the crane and helped pulled a man with an injured hip out.

After emergency repairs, Mercer Street was reopened in time for the Monday morning commute.