- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2008

MIAMI (AP) — A crane collapsed today at the construction site of a high-rise condominium, killing two workers, injuring four and smashing into a home that the contractor had been using as an office, police said.

Authorities were checking employee logs to make sure no workers were missing. But an initial survey by rescue workers and dogs found no evidence of victims trapped at the site of the 40-plus-story luxury condo tower on Biscayne Bay, said Miami police spokesman Delrish Moss.

Fire officials said rescue efforts were hampered because the crane remained unstable.

David Martinez, 31, a Miami pipe-fitter, was on the fourth floor of the condo tower eating lunch when the crash occurred.

“It was like a small earthquake,” he said. “We looked outside, and we couldn’t even see.” It took several minutes for the dust to clear, Martinez said.

Officials were unsure how the crane fell.

One of those killed died at the scene and the other at a hospital, Moss said. The injured were in serious but not critical condition, Moss said.

Parts of the home near the construction site were destroyed by the crane. Miami fire spokesman Ignatius Carroll said the building was used in the movie “There’s Something About Mary.”

Workers at the sales office for the Paramount Bay condo complex said they had no details about the accident or what construction company was on site. The tower developer, Royal Palms Communities, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

The accident came 10 days after a 20-story crane collapsed at a New York construction site, killing seven people.

The U.S. Office of Safety and Health Administration did not immediately return phone messages today.

Tower cranes and crane operators are not licensed or regulated by the state of Florida, but bills moving through both houses of the Legislature would change that.

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