Falling crane brings down power lines; no one hurt

Published August 28, 2006

PORT RICHEY - A crane that had been used by workers on a telecommunications tower fell across Grand Boulevard Sunday afternoon.

The operator of the crane escaped injury by jumping out just before the machine tipped about 2 p.m. The crane was not extended, so it fell short of hitting a lawyer's office on the opposite side of the street.

But the crane did take down power lines and blocked traffic near Grand's intersection with U.S. 19 into the evening.

The crane is owned by Tampa-based Sunbelt Sales & Rental. The company brought in another crane to right the fallen machine.

A Sunbelt representative on the scene said he expected the road to be cleared Sunday night. He said the company would release a statement about the accident today.

Workers repairing an antenna on Nextel's communication tower off Grand had been using the crane to hoist equipment.

Authorities said it was unclear why the machine tipped over.

The accident might have been worse. Fully extended, the crane's boom was higher than the nearby tower, which observers at the scene put at about 150 feet.

"If the boom had been extended, it'd be on (U.S.) 19," said Port Richey police Sgt. David Brown. "This is bad enough, but it could've been a lot worse."