1 injured when crane topples at Vilano boat ramp in St. Augustine

Firefighters, wildlife officers, deputies on scene of industrial accident

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - One person was injured Tuesday morning when an 80-ton crane tipped over at a boat ramp in St. Augustine, according to firefighters.

St. Johns Fire Rescue said the crane toppled at the Vilano boat ramp along Vilano Causeway just after 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. The typically busy boat ramp is just off May Street on the west side or the St. Augustine side of the Vilano bridge. 

St. Augustine police officers said the crane truck was working on a dock when its crane end tipped into the water, pulling up the truck cab 30 feet into the air.  Photos and video from the scene (see below) showed the crane standing on its back end along the edge of the water with the crane arm in the water.

The crane operator was not hurt and was able to climb down from the truck cab, but someone working on the dock suffered a minor injury when the crane tipped, officers said.

The injured person was taken to Flagler Hospital for treatment and was later released, police said.

PHOTOS: Crane topples at Vilano boat ramp

As of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, workers were still working to bring the crane down. The St. Augustine Police Department shared a video on Facebook as crews continued their efforts.

A St. Johns County spokesman said the crane was working for a contractor who was constructing a boat dock/lift for St. Johns County Fire Rescue. The work began in May and is expected to be completed in August.

St. Johns County officials said work on the project will be delayed by two days at the most because of Tuesday's incident.

Beyel Brothers Crane and Rigging owns the crane and was subcontracted by Saboungi for the dock work. 

Another crane operator who was at the site after the accident said the crane should have been able to handle the steel posts it was working worth at the time.

A representative from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was at the site investigating the industrial accident. Beyel Brothers has been hit with two serious safety violations since 2012, resulting in fines of $2,900 and $7,000. The company also settled a wrongful death lawsuit out of court after a 2013 accidental tugboat drowning in Central Florida.

Beyel Brothers has not responded to a request for comment on Tuesday's accident.

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