Part of Pier 58 collapses, two construction workers injured

SEATTLE — A part of Pier 58 collapsed Sunday afternoon as contractors had begun work to remove it.

Firefighters were called around 4 p.m. to Alaskan Way, where two construction workers had fallen into the water.

According to the Seattle Department of Transportation, other crew members pulled the two men, ages 30 and 42, out of the water. They were hurt and were taken to Harborview Medical Center in satisfactory condition.

The 42-year-old man was discharged and the 30-year-old male remains at the hospital.

The collapse reportedly happened at the northeast corner of the pier near the Seattle Aquarium.

The city had feared that the pier would give way without warning, and that is what happened as workers were dismantling it.

“I just happened to notice or hear the sound of the deck collapsing,” said Shannon Dyce, who picked up his cellphone and started recording what he could see from his 17th-floor balcony. The video shows a gaping hole where the pier gave way.

“The bubbles in the water are still coming up and stuff. You could tell that the weight involved with this was pretty high,” Dyce said.

Video courtesy of Kelton Temby:

Seven crew members were working on the rotting pier when about 20% of it fell into the Puget Sound. That triggered an alarm mechanism, and the pier was evacuated.

“Unfortunately, two individuals who were doing saw cutting on the pier at the time did go into the water. Fortunately, they were able to be pulled out of the water very quickly by the other safety staff on site. They did have some injury,” said Marshall Foster with the Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects.

In early August, Pier 58 was closed when the city discovered the 46-year-old structure was deteriorating quickly and had become an immediate danger.

On Friday, monitors indicated the pier was rotting even faster than first thought. So the next day, the lead contractor, Houston-based Orion Marine Contractors, began removing the heaviest portion of the pier to prevent it from collapsing.

"Literally within fifteen minutes of the collapse, we had planned to remove a very heavy portion of the pier, " Foster said.

It was a stunning surprise to all.

“I knew from the first little bit of it that it was, you know, there were people running around and stuff, and so I knew it was serious from the beginning,” Dyce said.

As for removing the pier, the work was largely being done waterside from a barge that arrived Sept. 4. Much of the deck, piles and structures were to be removed as necessary to ensure site safety, officials said.

It was also announced that the pier would be removed entirely by early 2021, but it is not yet known if the collapse will change the timeline.

City officials said the removal of the pier will continue when it is deemed safe to do, and an evaluation will take place to better understand how unstable it is. An update is expected later this week on how the pier removal will move forward.

Once Pier 58 is removed, work is expected to begin on a new park pier in 2022. It will include a playground, a public plaza and landscaping. The new pier is also expected to improve the salmon habitat and migration corridor.

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