Construction hazard suspected after crane fall

Demolition of the station section stopped for now

Bonn. Could it have been construction hazard? The police are investigating how the crane could fall onto the roof of the main station last Saturday. The Stadtwerke Bonn are replacing wires.

Since the crane accident last Saturday, the demolition of the southern section of the main station has been interrupted. Christian van de Loo, construction supervisor for builder Ten Brinke, could not say yet how the works will continue. Meanwhile the police have taken up investigations with the Bonn prosecutor’s office due to the suspected construction hazard. 

Police spokesperson Robert Schalten did not comment on the details of the accident due to the ongoing investigation. „We are investigating why the crane tilted and are interviewing witnesses“, he told the General-Anzeiger. The police have also informed the Cologne District Council whose department for employment protection does not need to be involved further as no worker was injured, according to spokesperson Dirk Schneemann.

As reported, the crane owned by the heavy load company Baumann fell off the building area at the southern building towards the main station, falling through the roof of the station. Nobody got injured, mainly because the street was closed moments earlier because of the demolition works. The accident caused traffic problems until late that evening though.

Asked for the cause of the accident, van de Loo relied: „We are still examining the situation.“ He added that Ten Bringe had taken the assignment together with the Dutch company Hofstede, who did not comment up to press deadline last night. Baumann CEO Sabine Baumann described the events after having spoken to the crane driver: „We had the job of protecting the outer parts of the building with the dust mat.“

Her employee brought the three-ton mat made from plastic and steel into position outside the driver’s cabin, via remote control. Apparently a concrete chunk fell from the demolition digger, which did not belong to Baumann, into the dust mat. That heavy piece of concrete got the 36-meter, 48-ton mobile crane off-balance and it tipped over. This description coincides with the statement of a DB employee who told the GA that the demolition digger had suddenly opened its claw and let a concrete chunk fall.

The securing of the accident scene took until late on Saturday. The mobile crane was able to be driven back to the Bornheim depot and will be checked before going back into service. A spokesperson for the Deutsche Bahn called the damage „not grave“. The crane’s cantilever beam only damaged four square meters of roof tiles and wooden slats lying underneath. 

Due to the fact that the heavy but blunt mats fell across the street Am Hauptbahnhof, the tram wires for the lines 61 and 62 were not ripped apart, only pushed down. „We will exchange four wires - two for each direction - as a precaution“, said Stadtwerke spokesperson Werner Schui. From next Sunday on, the technicians will replace the wires over a stretch of 500 meters on four evenings during a quiet time, said Schui. 

How high the financial damage is and who will pay for it was not yet clear on Monday night. 

(Original text: Philipp Königs, Translation: Mareike Graepel)