Body camera video reveals response to Seattle crane collapse

SEATTLE — Two years after a crane fell from the Google Cloud building in Seattle, KIRO 7 has obtained the police body camera video of the response.

Seattle Police Officer Fiona Taylor was the first officer on the scene after the crane collapsed on April 27, 2019. Her body camera reveals the horror and heroism of that day. “Can you hear me? Can you hear me? Can you hear me?” said Officer Taylor as she tried to save 19-year-old Seattle Pacific University student Sarah Wong. Wong was riding in the back of an Uber when it was crushed by the tower crane. A friend, who was sitting beside her, appealed for people to help. “She’s my friend! She’s my friend!” Wong was among four people who died. Alan Justad, 71, was killed while driving his car. Steelworkers Travis Corbet and Andrew Yoder fell to the street while disassembling the crane.

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries determined that workers removed all the pins in the crane at the same time, instead of in stages. Gusting winds sent the crane toppling onto traffic below. “I was horrified because I knew it was preventable and it should not have happened and nobody should have died and I was horrified and then I got really angry and I decided I’d have to do something about that,” said State Senator Karen Kaiser. She introduced a bill to monitor more closely the assembly and disassembly of cranes, but the legislation failed. Kaiser was however able to increase the budget by $300,000 a year for crane inspectors. “We doubled the number of crane inspectors and we assigned a special team of inspectors to King County which is where most of the cranes are.”

After being the crane capital of the United States, Seattle is now second to Washington, D.C. There are 43 cranes towering above the city and it petrifies survivors of the crane collapse like Ali Edriss. Edriss was driving the Uber that was carrying Sarah Wong and two other passengers. Police body camera video shows Edriss being rescued after the crane crushed his left side. “What happened? What happened?” Edriss asked rescuers taking him to an ambulance. He still battles the physical and emotional scars. “It was horrific. It was tragedy. It was hard,” Edriss told KIRO 7. Attorney Mike Wampold represents Edriss and another survivor. “For victims of a crane accident, living in the Seattle area becomes very hard. It’s very hard for victims of crane accidents to go on and not live their life in a very fearful manner, because this is not supposed to happen,” said Wampold.

Amid the grief, police body camera video reveals moments of gratitude. After the crane crushed her Audi, Jen Kois and her infant daughter escaped with scratches. Body camera video shows an officer asking Kois if her baby is breathing OK. She responds, “I think so.”

State Senator Kaiser says while she believes more inspectors make crane assembly and disassembly safer in Washington, she is calling for higher fines and possible federal oversight. “It could be that national OSHA, National Occupational Safety and Health Administration, should look at this whole industry as a pattern of concerns,” said Senator Kaiser.

KIRO 7 reached out to the attorneys representing the families of those killed by the crane collapse. They are suing the companies responsible and declined comment for this story.