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Vauxhall crane to be replaced 'within the week'

The Vauxhall tower crane hit by a helicopter yesterday morning will be replaced within the week as the UK’s biggest mobile crane is expected to arrive on site today to remove the wreckage.

The large Terex Demag TC2800-1 mobile strut-jib crane owned by Ainscough will take about 36 hours to set up and is due to start work on Saturday morning, according to the Construction Plant-hire Association.

The mobile crane features a 96m tower and 96m extending luffing boom, which will enable it to reach the remaining wreckage at the very top of the residential tower. Select Plant Hire is working with Brookfield Multiplex to remove the damaged crane.

CN understands the damaged Comedil tower crane is owned by main contractor Brookfield Multiplex, although the firm has not responded to questions on the crane or plans to remove it.

“We are taking down the jib and everything today,” he said. “There’s only one crane in the country that’s big enough to get it out and that’s been travelling overnight down from the north.”

Experts from the Health and Safety Executive will be on hand to monitor work on the crane as the agency works with the Air Incident Investigation Branch of the Civil Aviation Authority to determine “whether those in charge of the construction site discharged their legal duties”.

Two people died during the incident at about 8am yesterday, the lone pilot and a pedestrian. The pilot has been named as freelancer Captain Pete Barnes, a pilot with around 10,000 hours experience who had flown as a camera ship and action vehicle for films including Saving Private Ryan.

The Met Police said there were no fatalities on the crane itself, and that while construction workers were on the site at the time, they weren’t among the injured.

The helicopter was understood to be commercially operated on a scheduled flight from Surrey.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said the force believes the helicopter had been diverted to Battersea helipad during its flight.

The tower is being developed by Berkeley subsidiary St George, and was scheduled for completion this year.

An investigation into the incident will consider whether there was sufficient lighting on top of the tower. Prime Minister David Cameron said the rules on flights over London should be reviewed.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson told reporters last night: “We are very confident that the crane is now secure and that that problem will be sorted out shortly.”


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