Lucky escape after Edinburgh crane drops load

Great Junction Street was closed after the accident so that the debris could be cleared away. Picture: Esme Allen
Great Junction Street was closed after the accident so that the debris could be cleared away. Picture: Esme Allen
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STUNNED onlookers said they were amazed no-one was killed when a crane’s load-bearing straps snapped, showering heavy building materials on to the road below.

Three people were injured when the timber and glass came crashing down on Great Junction Street, Leith, at 10.40am yesterday.

Witnesses said a Mercedes driver was lucky not to be crushed when the load fell several storeys onto his car below.

Selcuk Okur, 36, ran from his shop to see if he could help as soon as he heard the clatter.

“It had landed on the car, he was very lucky not to be killed,” he said.

“I think it was down to the make of the car that it didn’t collapse on him. He was shocked and scared but said he was OK.

“All the glass had smashed and gone through onto the seats. I believe one of the builders was hurt as well. I don’t know how it happened.”

Debris was strewn across the road which was closed until 1pm while it was cleared. A dented railing, four floors up, showed where the load first impacted before crashing to the ground below.

Fire services said injuries to the trio – aged 46, 33, and 32 – were not serious. One was treated for minor head injuries while the others were treated for shock.

Further injury was avoided as much of the material fell within a construction cordon.

Magdalena Suchocka, 26, was working at the next door barber shop when she heard the bang.

She said: “It was pretty noisy hitting the floor. It hit the car and smashed the front window.

“I looked out and saw the guy get out of the car, he was really lucky. He didn’t look injured, just in shock. People were running to check he was alright.

“It’s such a busy road, they were so lucky. It could have been much worse.”

The site, formerly the indoor markets, is being developed by the Port of Leith Housing Association into a £4 million housing development, with street-level plots for retail and community projects.

Work on the development had to stop earlier this year after residents were left with large cracks in their walls and ceilings.

A Police Scotland spokesman confirmed the Health and Safety Executive was probing the incident.

He said: “We received a call at around 10.40am involving a crane that dropped its load, and some debris which struck a vehicle. The driver was taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for shock.

“A construction worker was also taken to hospital for minor injuries. The road was closed, but it reopened just before 1pm.”

Keith Anderson, chief executive of the Port of Leith Housing Association, said work was halted at the site immediately. The HSE has given the go-ahead for work to start again on Monday.

He said: “We regret that this incident occurred and we are thankful that no-one was seriously hurt.”