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‘Last few years have been devastating’ for family of 19-year-old killed in Seattle crane collapse

SEATTLE — For the first time we’re hearing from the parents of Sarah Wong, the woman who was one of four people killed in 2019 after a crane collaped in South Lake Union.

On Wednesday morning, Wong’s parents and lawmakers announced a new bill that calls for harsher punishments in tragedies like this.

“The last few years have been devastating… on April 27th, 2019, Sarah was 19-years-old, and we lost a cherished daughter, and our son lost his only sibling,” said Sarah’s father Henry Wong.

It’s been nearly five years since Henry and Andrea Wong found out that their daughter died. They say Sarah moved to Seattle to attend Seattle Pacific University.

“After Sarah’s death, we learned that the tower crane collapse was entirely avoidable and should not have happened,” said Henry.

The 300-foot crane was in the process of being disassembled when it fell.

Labor and Industries’ later found that stabilizing pins were prematurely removed, causing it to topple over in gusty winds.

Since the accident, Sarah’s parents have been working with L&I to create change.

“We will be seeing improved regulations, particularly paying attention to the things that have happened in the past to make the regulations are very, very clear,” said Sarah’s mother Andrew Wong. “This process has been painstaking but it’s been a good process.”

Sarah’s parents have also been in contact with lawmakers who just this week introduced a new bill that will address any gaps that remain.

“It’s very important that when there are tragedies that when there is negligence that people are held to account,” said State Rep. Julia Reed.

The bill calls for three major changes: Designating a safety zone around a crane, establishing a permitting process for assembly, disassembly, and reconfiguration, and demanding harsher penalties.

“The bill defines criminal penalties, so it establishes and enforces a misdemeanor criminal penalty for companies found in violation,” said Rep. Reed.

The bill still needs to be heard on the state House and Senate floor and that’s expected to begin this week.

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