Crane Driver Charged After Fatal Workplace Accident

Published August 15, 2019 (last updated July 17, 2020) -

A worker driving a crane that struck powerlines, electrocuting a co-worker, will appear in court in Queensland for allegedly operating a crane while disqualified.

Police will allege that the driver, a 54-year-old from Cairns, did not have a valid licence when he was operating the crane on 28 July.

The deceased, a 49-year-old man, was electrocuted when the crane came into contact with powerlines. He died at the scene, after being treated by paramedics.

According to the Courier Mail, Police Inspector Peter Flori described the accident as a “very tragic circumstance”.

“There was a male holding a length of track, steadying it as the crane manoeuvred [the piece of the track he was holding],” he told reporters.

“Unfortunately the boom contacted the powerlines and that male was electrocuted.”

There were three workers at the scene at the time of the accident. The third worker, a 63-year-old, was taken to hospital in Brisbane after suffering severe burns after rushing to the deceased’s aid.

At the time of accident, a local resident described the horror of the incident.

“We came home and I saw the crane there and our power cut out when I was cooking breakfast and my son had yelled out that they’re hurt,” the woman said.

“I heard screams. I went straight down there and we commenced first aid, CPR, the best we could do but unfortunately, the tragic accident happened.”

The witness said she’d seen the workers for several weeks, replacing tracks for the sugar cane train.

“I think there was one man guiding the train tracks carried by the crane, from my point of view of what we’d heard and seen,” she told the ABC.

“He [the crane driver] had a shock from when the crane had hit and the other man had gone to his rescue and received the other shock.”

The 54-year-old driver, who was initially taken to Cairns Hospital for shock after the accident, was yesterday charged with one count of disqualified driving.

He is due to appear in Cairns Magistrates Court on 10 September. If convicted, the maximum penalty for is a sentence of 18 months’ jail and a licence disqualification of up to five years.

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