Construction site worker loses both legs in crane accident

Maryland City

November 09, 2004|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

A construction crane tipped over and crashed to the ground at a Maryland City site yesterday, severing a masonry worker's legs and injuring the machine operator, Anne Arundel County fire officials said.

William Dobson, 52, an employee of Laurel-based Robbins Masonry Inc., was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he was listed in critical condition yesterday afternoon.

Officials with the crane company, W.O. Grubb Steel Erection & Crane Rental Inc., said that the company is conducting its own investigation and declined to comment further on the incident.

Dobson, a Suitland resident, was injured about 9:20 a.m. when a 300-ton crane fell on its side at a homebuilding site in the 7900 block of Orion Circle, said Capt. Michael Cox of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.

According to witnesses at the site, the worker's legs were cut off when he was struck by the machine's heavy metal cables as it crashed to the ground, Cox said.

Emergency personnel who responded to the scene said that the arm of the crane was extended about 100 feet when it overturned, though Cox could not say whether the machine had been lifting a load at the time of the incident.

Also injured was the 56-year-old crane operator, who, according to Cox, was thrown from the machine. The operator, whose name has not been released by investigators, suffered minor injuries and was treated at Laurel Regional Hospital.

A masonry company spokeswoman described Dobson yesterday as a reliable employee who has worked for the company as a laborer for about four years.

Both men were working at the construction site of homes in the Russett community, at Russett Green East and Faraway Hills Drive.

By yesterday afternoon, workers had returned to the area and investigators with the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health agency were attempting to determine how the machine had tipped over, said Linda Sherman, an agency spokeswoman. Sherman declined to comment on the investigation.

Sun staff writers Laura Cadiz and Liz F. Kay contributed to this article.

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