55-Tone Crane Splits House in Two in New Zealand Freak Accident

55-Tone Crane Splits House in Two in New Zealand Accident 1 photo
A 55-ton crane was lifting a boat off a trailer parked beside a house in Auckland, New Zealand, today when the weight proved to be too big and it collapsed, falling through a neighbor’s house. Even though nobody was hurt, the house was literally split in half.
We have heard about tornados simply tearing houses apart or huge earthquakes destroing everything, but this is quite something else.

The accident happened today, in the Aukland suburb of Unsworth Heights, on the North Shore. At the moment of impact, there was actually a man sitting in the bedroom where the crane came crashing through the roof, but fortunately nobody got hurt.

“I looked up and heard the crane going down and raced there. The lady in the house was screaming and so I dragged her out. She was standing on the other side of the crane and was hysterical. There was dust falling down and I thought, this is my one chance to grab her,” one of the witnesses told the local media.

The boat’s owner said the crane fell over because of the wind, but the investigation is ongoing. His wife and him were planning to have the boat behind their house for the next two years while they restore it. Even though it wasn’t as bad as the other house, the crane damaged their house as well. As to the driver of the huge vehicle, reports are he was taken to the hospital with a minor leg injury.

How do cranes function

The stability of a crane uses quite a simple principle. To keep things safe, the sum of all moments about the base of the crane must be close to zero so that the crane does not overturn. In practice, the magnitude of load that is permitted to be lifted (called the “rated load” in the US) is some value less than the load that will cause the crane to tip, thus providing a safety margin.

We’re not quite sure what the standards are in New Zealand, but in US the stability-limited rated load for a crawler crane is 75% of the tipping load. The stability-limited rated load for a mobile crane supported on outriggers is 85% of the tipping load. Either way, we’re pretty sure this proportion was respected, considering it doesn’t seem like the boat is that big.
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