Cranes crush homes in dramatic accident


Two large building cranes working on a bridge upgrade in the Netherlands fell over and toppled onto nearby houses and shops, in a dramatic moment that was captured on camera but caused no major injuries.

Local authorities in the western town of Alphen aan den Rijn said there were no victims in the incident, while local media reported that one man had been plucked from the rubble complaining of hip pain. A dog was found dead among the debris.

"While we did not dare hope it when we saw the footage, at this point it seems there are no casualties," Mayor Liesbeth Spies said in a statement.


Initially, firefighters had said about 20 people had been wounded, a figure they later retracted.

"Two cranes and the stretch of roadway they were carrying fell on five (buildings) in all," Ton Koot, brigade spokesman for firefighters of the central Holland region, told AFP.


Rescuers, working with sniffer dogs, rushed to the scene and spent several hours combing through the rubble for victims before calling off the search around 11:00 pm (2100 GMT).

Dutch prosecutors have opened an investigation into the accident and three people have voluntarily presented themselves to the local police station in connection with the probe, Dutch news agency ANP reported.


A security perimeter has been set up around the site, leaving the residents of 51 houses unable to sleep in their homes tonight.

Mayor Spies said it was a "terrible accident". "There is a lot of material damage," she added.

The cranes, working from barges, were renovating the Queen Juliana Bridge, a canal bridge dating from the 1950s, when the first machine went down.


Unbalanced by the extra load, the second crane then collapsed as well.

The drama was captured in amateur footage shot by a local resident who was following the progress of the bridge works from his balcony.

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