A worker on the I-90 bridge over the Fox River reconstruction project was critically injured Monday morning when part of a crane gave way, hitting him on a barge below the bridge, the Elgin Courier-News is reporting.
“There was an equipment failure. The crane came apart and collapsed and he was hurt pretty seriously,” Elgin Fire Department Batallion Chief Tim Michaels said. The crane was under the bridge at Duncan Avenue at the time of the failure and no traffic above or below was in danger, Michaels said.
The 51-year-old man became pinned under the crane component, which weighed several thousand pounds, a press release from the fire department said.
“He was in a barge on the river working with the crane and there is a land bridge to the barge,” that allowed paramedics to access the victim, he said. “We were able to stabilize him, get him onto land and into the ambulance.”
The fire department was called to the construction site at 9:28 a.m. and the first responding truck was on scene six minutes later, Michaels said. The ambulance departed for the hospital 9:52 a.m. The victim did not need extraction, Michaels said.
The man was taken to Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin in critical condition, fire officials said. He was then taken by helicopter to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge for treatment.
The $95 million bridge reconstruction project began this summer. Before work commenced, the contractor’s safety officer met with the fire department to outline emergency plans, Michaels said. Those plans worked exactly as designed, he added.
“Everything went according to the plan and the access plan we had devised went off without a hitch. As bad as the injury was, he has the best chance possible,” Michaels said.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation, officials said.