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‘Do you have videos or images of crane incident in Bow?’ police appeal after woman, 85, dies

PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:43 14 July 2020

Scene of devastation at Watts Grove building site next to Compton Close in Bromley-by-Bow, where the 60ft crane toppled over. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Scene of devastation at Watts Grove building site next to Compton Close in Bromley-by-Bow, where the 60ft crane toppled over. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

An appeal for witnesses or videos footage of the crane that crashed onto two houses next to a building site in Bromley-by-Bow where an elderly woman was killed on Wednesday has been made by police.

Terraced house in Compton Close where 85-year-old June Harvey died when the crane crashed through the roof. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA WireTerraced house in Compton Close where 85-year-old June Harvey died when the crane crashed through the roof. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The appeal today comes from the Met’s Crime unit which is urging anyone with images, videos or dash-cam footage from passing cars to contact them.

“I am aware that several videos were posted online immediately after this incident,” Det Chief Insp Mark Wrigley said.

“The investigation is still in its very early stages. But I am appealing to the public to help us build a picture of how these events unfolded, anyone who witnessed the incident or the moments prior to the crane collapsing to get in contact.”

Anyone with footage or images on their mobile phone or drivers who may have captured events on dashcam is being urged to call the incident room on 020-8345 3715, or tweet @MetCC. There have been no arrests as enquiries continue.

Toppled crane and its control unit ending up on block of flats being built at Watts Grove construction site. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA WireToppled crane and its control unit ending up on block of flats being built at Watts Grove construction site. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Tower Hamlets council has written to all major developers in the East End to review their safety practices and inspections, especially where they are using cranes or heavy lifting equipment.

The mayor spoke of the community in shock following the events at Compton Close on Wednesday afternoon when 85-year-old June Harvey died and four other people including a construction worker were injured.

“My thoughts are with the friends and family,” John Biggs said. “Construction sites and cranes in Tower Hamlets are a common sight. Some residents might be feeling differently about them following the terrible events in Bow. We have no reason to believe there are other sites at risk.”

The investigation “must be full and transparent so that we can understand how this happened”, the mayor urged.

June Harvey... died when crane toppled onto her home in Bromley-by-Bow. Picture: Picture: June Harvey GoFundMe Appeal/PA WireJune Harvey... died when crane toppled onto her home in Bromley-by-Bow. Picture: Picture: June Harvey GoFundMe Appeal/PA Wire

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The Unite trade union had earlier called for a complete investigation into the circumstances that led to the tragedy. Its national officer Jerry Swain said: “The preliminary findings must be released in weeks, not months or years, to ensure that similar accidents are avoided in future.”

Pensioner June Harvey was in an upstairs bedroom of one of the two terraced houses when the 60ft crane crashed down onto the roof at 2.40pm on Wednesday.

Her great nephew, Sam Atkinson, 28, who lived in the house along with his mother Jacqueline Atkinson, 63, said the noise was so loud that he thought a plane had crashed.

'Respect for the community'... sign on hoarding at Watts Grove construction site with police cordon around where the 60ft crane toppled over.  Picture: Mike Brooke'Respect for the community'... sign on hoarding at Watts Grove construction site with police cordon around where the 60ft crane toppled over. Picture: Mike Brooke

“The last thing you ever think is going to happen is a crane coming through your roof,” he said. “I was screaming for my mum to check she was okay and my great aunt.

“I tried to push through the rubble, but it was impossible. The whole house was crumbling around me.”

Neighbours came to the rescue with ladders to prop up against the bedroom window to reach June before the emergency services arrived.

“I grabbed a ladder and a neighbour grabbed another to get her down,” Sam added. “But it’s devastating she had to go in such tragic circumstances.

“It’s just a miracle that we’re alive, lucky it didn’t come straight through and crush me, crush my mum.”

The family have set up a GoFundMe page to help with costs.

The construction worker injured when the crane toppled was taken to hospital in a critical condition. Three other people injured were not seriously hurt.

Cordons are expected to remain in place around Watts Grove leading to Compton Close for the next few days.


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