A shocking start to an early morning drive at 8.20 am on the road to Nice, just by the Jardin Exotique, as a 45 metre crane crashed down on the road. The motorist would have had to have braked sharply to avoid an accident.
It was a terrible crash with the earth trembling with the impact and a cloud of dust rising all around.
The crane operator in his cabin was trapped, severely injured but conscious and alive. Rescued by 15 firemen and SMUR the 38 year old man was urgently transported to Pasteur 2 hospital in Nice and admitted to Emergency to be treated for head, thoracic and foot injuries.
There were no other injuries which was really a miracle due solely to the fact that the Thursday was a public holiday. Normally there would be up to 100 people working on this giant building site – the Western gateway into Monaco – where there are planned to be 50 homes and a 15 level parking structure for 1820 vehicles, not to mention an office complex – all due in 2023 – with oversight of the project by Engeco and Fine Properties, Monte-Carlo. Given a special exemption by the authorities to work on a public holiday, fortunately only a skeleton crew of 8 people had been assigned to work that day. And fortune was smiling on them all except the principal crane operator in the cabin.
This is a mega building site for a project that has a mega budget in the region of 100 million euros. So there were two giant cranes on site. The other crane was put under microscopic examination immediately to see if its anchoring was safe. Two separate teams were brought in to independently corroborate their findings – one by Engeco the project manager of the site and the other by the Director of Public works. Both declared the second crane safe.
Nevertheless the work-site has been closed and declared off-limits while an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the crane collapse.
The vertiginous fall of the crane had awakened those in the vicinity with a noise like a loud clap of thunder. The crane appears to have been ripped from its base where it was anchored.
A judicial enquiry is underway to assign cause and responsibility. Technical and scientific police are combing the site. At least four of the workers onsite at the time have, it is reported, been interviewed by the Judicial enquiry as official witnesses, in addition to the site managers.
On May 10, the government-minister of Equipment, Environment and Urbanism, Marie-Pierre Gramaglia, had visited this site (where used to be located the old greenhouses of the exotic garden) for a visit to this complex called “Entrance/Gateway to The City”.
— Leandra Iacono (@LeandraIacono) May 31, 2019
Together with the managers of the site operators, namely Fine Properties Monte-Carlo and Engeco, she was able to note the progress of the work of this combined private / public operation. In addition to the planned 50 homes and the public parking of 1,820 places there will be a dozen places dedicated to coaches and a logistics platform for the daily treatment of 4,000 to 5,000 small parcels. The office space will be about 5,000 m².
All should be delivered by 2023. That is not accounting for this large glitch though. There is currently an outright stoppage of the site which will be in force for an indefinite period. Boulevard de Jardin Exotique on the other hand was opened again within 16 hours of the incident for Friday’s traffic, and without any hitch.