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Firefighters to begin recovery of Bow crane victim’s body

The crane collapsed yesterday afternoon (credit: LAS)

A woman who died after a crane collapsed and crashed through the roof of two houses in Bow was aged in her 80s.

Specialist firefighters are today working to safely recover her body, which was discovered on the first floor of one of the homes in Compton Close that the crane landed on yesterday afternoon.

Her next of kin has been informed. The woman has not yet been formally identified and a post-mortem examination will be scheduled in due course.

Emergency services were called to the incident just after 2.30pm yesterday afternoon.

The 20-metre tall crane had toppled over in a building site between Watts Grove and Gale Street, damaging a building it was working on and also landing on two properties in a nearby road.

A construction worker who was also injured in the incident remains in a critical condition in hospital.

A number of other people are believed to have suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police say.

A photo taken shortly after the collapse shows a large cloud of dust surrounding the crane (credit: Bridget Teirney)

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “A joint investigation is underway involving officers from the Met’s Central East Command Unit and Specialist Crime, the Health and Safety Executive, and the London Fire Brigade. The local authority (Tower Hamlets Council) is aware and providing support.

“A scene is expected to remain in place for the next few days.

“The investigation is in its very early stages. There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.”

The building site where the crane fell was constructing homes for Swan Housing Association.

65 ‘modular’ homes were being built as part of a mid-rise block, with the properties constructed at Swan’s factory.

They are made from Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and assembled and fitted at the factory, before being delivered to site complete with kitchens, bathrooms and windows.

The on-site team then adds the external cladding and other finishing touches, according to information available on Swan Housing Association’s website.

In a joint statement, Valerie Owen, Swan Housing’s Chair, and John Synnuck, the organisation’s Chief Executive, said: “As Chair and Chief Executive of Swan Housing Association, we are deeply saddened by the tragic incident which occurred at our Watts Grove construction site yesterday afternoon. 

“We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family who have lost their loved one as a result of the incident. Your loss is a personal tragedy. We recognise that whilst understanding how this happened will not ease your pain, we would like to reassure you on behalf of our organisation that we will fully support the Health and Safety Executive and the authorities in their investigation so that you can receive a full, transparent answer to how this incident took place.

“Our thoughts are also with those who were injured and their families. We wish them a speedy recovery. We are also thinking of the wider local community who have had to leave their homes as a safety precaution. Our staff are on standby to help the borough and local housing providers ensure that you are supported through this difficult time.

“We would like to thank the emergency services for their swift and dedicated response and those who are supporting residents affected. We have never experienced a situation like this before and it is something that no organisation ever wishes to happen. We therefore stand ready to respond fully to support the investigation to understand what has occurred to cause this incident.”

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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