A State of Emergency in Kelowna B.C. has been declared by local authorities
By Dami Igbinyemi
On Monday morning a crane collapsed at one of its construction sites in downtown Kelowna, B.C. Many are calling it a “catastrophic failure” that lead to multiple buildings damaged in the area of Bernard Avenue and St. Paul Street. The top of the crane fell from the construction site into the office building next door as well as a seniors’ home. Officials have declared a local state of emergency in Okanagan city for the next seven days.
The collapse happened around 10:45 am PT at the downtown Brooklyn building; Mission Group being the development company. Emergency responders were called, and the building was evacuated. Hours later RCMP confirmed that multiple people were killed in the accident, but they would not be releasing any more information until the family had been notified. Mission Group verified that the people who died were subcontractors and not employees of the company.
“The deceased individuals were working on the site. I can confirm that they were not Mission Group employees,” Mission Group CEO Jonathan Friesen said. “That does not change the fact that people died today. So, let’s all keep that in mind.”
During a news conference on Monday Afternoon, Kelowna RCMP Insp. Adam Maclntosh also said at least one person was missing. B.C. Emergency Health Services said three patients had been taken to the hospital with different injuries.
“I am deeply saddened to hear about the terrible incident involving a construction crane in Kelowna today. My thoughts are with the workers affected, and I send my sincere condolences to the families, friends, and co-workers of the victims. Every worker has the right to return home safely at the end of the day, and I feel awful for the loved ones and colleagues impacted by this tragedy.
“All workers have the right to a safe and healthy workplace – even one injury or death is too many. This is a heartbreaking reminder that we must strive to ensure the safety of all workers to prevent incidents like this from happening. I thank the emergency personnel and investigators now on scene. Agencies including WorkSafeBC, the BC Coroners Service and the RCMP are now investigating. We will have more to say as further details become available.” Harry Bains, Minister of Labour said in a statement.
Police have set up a four-block perimeter and have evacuated the area, asking residents and drivers to stay away as BC Coroners Services and WorkSafeBC conducts their investigation as to the cause of the incident.