Media More on Crane Collapse
posted by November 29 at 13:35 PMon
Yesterday the PI reluctantly admitted that Warren Taylor Yeakey, the man operating a crane that collapsed in Bellevue, wasn’t on drugs at the time of the accident. Still, the PI felt certain that Yeakey, what with his history of substance abuse (unlike a certain PI columnist I could name), must be to be blame somehow. So the same PI story that cleared Yeakey of substance abuse speculated at length about other stuff Yeakey could have done or failed to do that would cause the crane to collapse, killing one man and causing millions of dollars worth of damage.
Investigators are also looking into whether the crane was allowed to “weathervane,” or swing freely, during windstorms before the collapse. A failure to do so by the crane operator would have put more stress on the massive structure, experts say…
“If the crane is not in weathervane mode, the torque from the wind load on the boom can contribute, at least in part, to failure,” said Frank Shih, a mechanical engineering professor at Seattle University. [The Italics are mine.]
Who was the crane operator? Why, Yeakey, of course. He was the crane operator, singular, the only person up there operating that crane, the only crane operator named in reports about the accident. If the crane operator, singular, neglected to put that crane in weathervane mode at the end of the day, then surely the crane operator, singular, caused the collapse.
Well guess what? Yeakey wasn’t the only person that operated that crane—a crane that, according to photographic evidence, was leaning dangerously to one side back in October. From today’s Seattle Times:
The construction crane that collapsed in downtown Bellevue Nov. 16 appeared to be leaning in a photograph taken more than a month before the deadly accident….
The photograph is one reason investigators are questioning several crane operators who worked at the site to determine whether they unlocked the crane’s horizontal arm during high winds the week before the collapse. The practice, known as “weathervaning,” is required during strong winds to allow the arm to swing freely, relieving pressure on the crane, said the source familiar with the investigation.
Among the operators who has been questioned is Warren Taylor Yeakey, 34, of Tacoma, who was in the crane’s cab when it collapsed. He suffered minor injuries.
So Yeakey was not only sober the day of the collapse, he’s also just one of several people that operated the crane. And the crane appears to have already been leaning dangerously to one side—two to three feet at the top, when the max allowed for a crane its height is 5 1/4 inches—more than a month before Yeakey was unlucky enough to show up for his shift on November 16. (You can see a picture of the crane here.)
But if you read only the PI—something I’m going to have to give up—you wouldn’t know that Yeakey was only one of several men that operated the crane. We also don’t know when the PI will drop its drug-hysteria inspired innuendo campaign against Yeakey or when the PI will apologize to him.
I hope Yeakey has a good lawyer and I hope he sues the fuck out of the PI.