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Crane fall report two years late

THE LONG-AWAITED report into the Canary Wharf crane collapse is being finalised as relatives of the three workers killed in the tragedy prepare for its second anniversary.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive leading the inquiry into the disaster are understood to be putting the finishing touches to the document after considering recommendations put forward by an independent professor of mechanical engineering.

An HSE spokesman said: 'The report is now back from the independent technical expert and the HSE continues to work towards completion.

'We cannot say when it will be released at this moment but we hope to put out an update as soon as possible. It has been a very complex investigation and we want to make sure it's right.'

The news comes on the eve of next week's second anniversary of the horrific accident in which Peter Clark, 33, of London, Martin Burgess, 31, of Castleford, and 39-year-old Michael Whittard, of Leeds, all lost their lives. Gareth Hetherington, 24, who was working on the 150-tonne tower crane when it collapsed on May 21, 2000, said: 'It's disappointing that two years after the accident we're still nowhere near finding out what caused it to collapse.

'Although it's a complex case, I don't know why it should be taking so long when you consider the speed at which reports into rail and plane disasters can be released.'

Caroline Clark, the sister of Peter Clark, said:

'We understand that the coroner will also need four weeks to read through the report after it's released before making a decision into whether to set an inquest date.

'It's been a frustrating process, but we've come this far and hopefully investigators will now be able to reach a firm conclusion.'

The investigation was hampered because technicians had been unable to simulate the events immediately before and during the collapse of the German-made Wolff Hydro 32BF crane, which was on hire from Hewden Stuart.