A woman has died after a crane fell on to houses in east London, while a resident on the street said she and her family are lucky to have escaped with their lives.
The 20-metre crane collapsed on a site where flats were being constructed, and crashed on to two adjacent terrace houses in Compton Close, Bow, on Wednesday afternoon.
London Ambulance Service (LAS) said crews treated four people and confirmed one death.
A large part of the roof could be seen to be completely bashed in on one of the houses.
London Fire Brigade (LFB) said the woman was found on the first floor of one of the houses hit by the crane and confirmed dead at the scene.
LFB assistant commissioner Graham Ellis said: “Our urban search and rescue crews undertook a complex rescue operation and used specialist equipment to search the properties.
“Sadly one woman died at the scene.”
A spokeswoman for LAS said: “We treated four people at the scene. We treated two of these patients for head injuries and took them to hospital and we assessed the other two patients at the scene.”
A woman whose home is next door to the one which felt the full impact of the crash said the collapse sounded “like an earthquake”.
In a shaking voice, the woman, who did not want to give her name, told the PA news agency she feels “traumatised”, adding: “It is just lucky that one of my siblings was at work and the other one was downstairs.
“They would have been completely crushed. It is all just so upsetting.”
She said: “We are all just so lucky to be alive – that is all I can really say.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “This is a tragedy. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family of the victim who died during this incident in Bow today. I sincerely hope that the four individuals injured make a full recovery.”
Hoarding in Gale Street which blocks the crane from the road includes the tagline “somewhere to feel at home”, and has a message which reads: “Working with the Mayor of London and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to bring affordable homes to London.
“Together delivering more.”
A spokeswoman for Tower Hamlets said a rest centre has been set up to help those who are displaced and accommodation is being provided to those who need it.
She said access to the local area will be restricted for some time, adding: “We are incredibly shocked by the crane collapse this evening in Bow and our thoughts are with the families of those affected.”
The crane that collapsed was being used by Swan Housing Association and NU living, and appeared to be a Wolff crane.
A spokeswoman for Swan Housing Association and NU living said: “Swan Housing Association/NU living is deeply saddened by an incident that has occurred at our Watts Grove development site this afternoon.
“Our thoughts are with those affected and their families at this difficult time.
“We would like to thank the emergency services for their swift and dedicated response and those who are supporting residents who have had to leave their homes as a safety precaution.
“Our staff are on site to provide support to the emergency response and the investigation.”
Work on the Watts Grove site began in 2018 where the one, two and three-bed shared ownership apartments are replacing an electrical substation building, according to the NU living website.
Neil Marney, chief executive of Marney Construction, said his company was working on another site and he could see the crane being erected on Tuesday.
He told PA: “My project manager on the site called me immediately and said the crane you were looking at yesterday being erected has just collapsed.
“So all I could see yesterday was the mast and the cab was on, and then I believe they started to add sections of the boom.”
The crane that collapsed was not one of Marney Construction’s cranes nor was it a crane on one of its sites.
The Metropolitan Police sent officers to the scene after they were called at around 2.39pm on Wednesday to Gale Street to a report of a crane that had collapsed into a residential property and a building site.
Unite national officer Jerry Swain said there must be “an urgent, full and complete investigation into the circumstances that led to this accident”.
He added: “The preliminary findings of which must be released in weeks, rather than months or years, in order to ensure that similar accidents are avoided in the future.”