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Neighbours tell of horror and rescue after 60ft crane crashes down on two houses in Bow

PUBLISHED: 20:32 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 21:23 08 July 2020

House in Compton Close with the crane crashed through the roof. Picture: Sid Rahman

House in Compton Close with the crane crashed through the roof. Picture: Sid Rahman

Sid Rahman

Neighbours dashed to the rescue when a 60ft crane came crashing down in east London today onto two terraced houses trapping the family inside.

Compton Close... 60ft crane has collapsed onto two houses and a new block of flats. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA WireCompton Close... 60ft crane has collapsed onto two houses and a new block of flats. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

A builder ran out of his house in Bromley-by-Bow with a ladder making his way through clouds of thick dust and leaned it against the wrecked terrace in the normally quiet Compton Close.

He got two people out through the upstairs bedroom window with the toppled crane balancing precariously above his head where it had crashed through the roof.

Several elderly people were in the house next door who were also guided out before the emergency services arrived at 2.40pm.

“Two of my neighbours got a woman out of her bedroom window using a ladder that a builder turned up with who lives down the street,” transport worker Sid Rahman told the East London Advertiser.

Paramedics who specialise in life saving treatment were at the scene. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA WireParamedics who specialise in life saving treatment were at the scene. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

“They climbed up and had to persuade her to get onto the ladder in case there was a further collapse. She was very scared, but they got her safely down and also helped a man out the window.”

Those being rescued were treated on the spot by ambulance paramedics. Two were taken to hospital.

Sid, a trainee train driver for the London Underground living opposite Compton Close, recalled: “I knew something big had happened when the ground shook and ran out in clouds of dust.

“Everything was twisted. But it was lucky only the crane toppled onto the houses and not the counter balance weights which fell onto open space — it would have been much more serious the other way.”

Collapsed crane also tore through a block of flats being built next to Compton Close. Picture: Sid RahmanCollapsed crane also tore through a block of flats being built next to Compton Close. Picture: Sid Rahman

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Emergency services arrived and closed off the area while rescue operations got under way.

There were early reports that one person may be missing and unaccounted for in the houses.

Eye-witness Dave Aylwood was one of 14 neighbours who dialed 999. He told the Advertiser: “We heard a huge crumpled bang that shook the whole street. The gantry crane on the building site opposite is on its side.

“There’s a huge hole in the house where the crane went through.”

The two taken to hospital had head injuries and another two were treated at the scene, the Ambulance Service later confirmed.

Crews arrived from Poplar, Whitechapel and Stratford fire stations, with the Fire Brigade also using a drone overhead for aerial imagery to help the rescue operation.

The brigade’s assistant commissioner Graham Ellis said: “A crane collapsed onto a block of flats under development and onto two terraced houses in Compton Close.

“Our crews are undertaking a complex rescue operation using specialist equipment to search the properties. This is likely to be a protracted incident.”

Scotland Yard said earlier that streets around Watts Grove leading to Compton Close had been cordoned off and was advising drivers to avoid the area.

The nearby All Hallows parish church in Devons Road set up a tea stall for the emergency rescuers who are still at the scene tonight.


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