Stadium crane collapse mystery

2009-03-06 00:00

There is confusion over reports of the collapse of a giant crane over Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Thursday morning. It is reported to have come crashing down, causing extensive damage.

According to a contractor on site, workers ran for their lives when the massive crane knocked a hole in the west wall of the stadium. The arm was “not properly in position” and collapsed while it was moving from one side to the other. Fortunately there were no injuries.

He said structural engineers were called in to assess the damage and to ascertain whether or not a large section of the wall needs to be broken down and rebuilt.

However, it is “early days” and the full extent of the damage and the possibility of delays is still not known, he said.

Meanwhile, the construction company “had to get rid of the crane first”, he said. However, construction bosses on site could not be reached for comment and a spokesperson for the eThekwini Municipality’s strategic projects unit could also shed no light on exactly what happened.

According to municipal manager Michael Sutcliffe, the incident was a non-event. He said the collapse of cranes is common on building sites across the city. There were no injuries and minimal damage. It has simply cracked a set of pre-moulded seats, he said.

Sutcliffe said that the Moses Mabhida Stadium remains the safest site of its kind in the country and won the Master Builders’ regional award for the safest R500 million building project and the national first prize.

Sutcliffe said all is going according to plan and that the mega-stadium is on schedule for completion. He said he is delighted with the progress. At this point, the only hitch is trying to mobilise more money for the project.

The Moses Mabhida Stadium is not the only stadium that has been damaged by a crane. A gale force storm in January resulted in extensive damage to the Nelspruit stadium when a crane toppled over inside the stadium bowl.

A number of pre-cast seating and roof beams were destroyed and there was damage to concrete structures and building materials on site.

That accident took place during the builders’ shutdown and there were no injuries.

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