Latest News

Crane malfunctions, hits new science building at PLNU

A crane malfunctioned Jan. 22, falling into a second floor deck of the new science building.

At approximately 1:00 p.m., a crane that was positioned to move down slope at the construction site fell forward into part of the unfinished science complex. The crane’s operator was immediately rushed to the hospital by paramedics as a precaution, but sustained no injury said Rene Olivo, Rudolph and Sletton’s vice president of operations. The employees left the site after the incident.

“This is a mechanical failure as far as we can tell,” said Olivo.

Olivo explained that the braking system malfunctioned during the move and will be dismantled and towed offsite within the next 48 hours. It is no longer workable and was not carrying a load when it malfunctioned.

Olivo said construction will continue as normal and a new crane will be brought in to replace the old one.

“We are just glad no one was injured. We take great pride in our safety program,” said Olivo. “It’s a mechanical failure and we just want to find out what happened to the braking system.”

Further investigation by a structural engineer will determine the cause and damage to the building. Olivo said the concrete deck had just been poured prior to the incident and no cost can be determined at this point. This will not set back the completion date for the building.

Caye Smith, PLNU’s vice president for student development, forwarded an email to students from Joe Watkins, vice president for external relations, about the incident, discussing the need to be “observant” of fire department personnel.

“San Diego Fire has responded to a construction incident at the Science Building construction site,” Watkins said via email. “The onsite crane tipped into the north side of the building. Fortunately the crane operator is safe and is somewhat shaken but appears to be ok.”

In an email sent out Jan. 23 to faculty, staff and later students (forwarded from Charlene Patterson), President Bob Brower confirmed that construction will continue on schedule.

“Today, structural engineers visited the site with our general contractor and have determined that no damage occurred to the building,” Brower said. “Construction is continuing today and the damaged crane, parked near Public Safety, will be moved.”

Bruce Kunkel, director of campus facilities and sustainability, explained via email to the entire campus that the damaged Brewer crane, parked near the Public Safety office would be transported off campus during Chapel. It was removed Jan. 26.


All photos by Katie Callahan