Collapsed crane at Wolli Creek removed safely

A delicate operation to remove a crane that fell on a Wolli Creek apartment block has been successful today but residents have been told to expect further delays, leaving them homeless for at least another night.

The 30-metre crane fell onto the 10-storey building last Sunday, crashing into the penthouse apartment and leaving three workers in need of rescue.

Close to two hundred residents have been forced to spend the night elsewhere, after a crane collapsed into an apartment complex in Wolli Creek in Sydney's south.

About 200 residents who had to be evacuated have spent a week moving from hotel room to hotel room.

On Saturday morning, the cabin and the horizontal arm of the crane were removed by larger cranes, exposing the damage caused when the arm hit the top of the building last weekend.

The two-level penthouse of the Arc residential tower has been destroyed, with the roofing torn away and the balcony littered with debris.

The crane will be dismantled in stages using four other temporary cranes.

Dave Hartigan, principal crane engineer at Queensland firm Field Engineers, said the recovery would be a massive and delicate operation.

He said tower cranes, such as the one at Wolli Creek, are designed to be assembled and disassembled quickly and many times during their working life. Pieces connect with pins.

The fallen crane in Wolli Creek earlier this week. Photo: Hailey Gomes

The fallen crane in Wolli Creek earlier this week. Photo: Hailey Gomes

"The difficult part would be to decide whether to pull it down in one piece, which would require larger mobile cranes, or install something to support it temporarily while they pull the cabin off the top." 

The accident occurred last Sunday morning when workers were erecting the tower crane to begin work on the construction of a high-rise building next door to the Arc.

Wolli Creek resident Daniel Wallace has been unable to return to his home since Sunday. Photo: Supplied

Wolli Creek resident Daniel Wallace has been unable to return to his home since Sunday. Photo: Supplied

Construction company Probuild has not said what caused the collapse.

Residents were watching on Saturday as the dismantling began, eager to finally return home.

"I just hope that they can complete the removal soon and safely so that the residents of ARC like myself can return home and get on with our lives," one resident said. 

Frasers Property initially said the crane would be removed by Sunday morning but, on Friday, said there would be further delays.

The collapsed crane left as many as 500 people unable to return home this past week. Picture: Michele Mossop

The collapsed crane left as many as 500 people unable to return home this past week. Picture: Michele Mossop

"Probuild, in consultation with crane recovery staff and the emergency management team, have resolved to stop work this evening at 6pm to ensure workers' wellbeing and site safety.

"As a consequence, residents of Arc will not be able to return to their homes on Sunday as planned."

Resident Daniel Gomes, a site manager who has worked in the construction industry for 15 years and has been unable to work since the incident, said the lack of transparency from developer Frasers Property and contractor Probuild was disconcerting. 

"I doubt the cranes they've moved in to get it out will work though, they are too small," he said last week.

This story first appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald

See the original story here.