Crane operator among 5 injured in collapse at VT Halter Marine

Published: Jun. 26, 2014 at 2:57 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 26, 2014 at 9:54 AM CDT
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Image source: Amanda Rivera.
Image source: Amanda Rivera.

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - There's still no word on what caused two cranes to collapse at VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula Wednesday afternoon, injuring five people.

Officials say several cranes were being used to move a section of a boat being built at the facility when two of the cranes collapsed.

"I don't go to work until 4:30, so I was coming by to see what was going on. And when I pulled up, the lady at the gate said that a crane had fell and it's real bad out there," one employee said as he was turned away from work.

"We had multiple cranes lifting in tandem. It was a failure and two of the cranes collapsed. One of the cranes hit a building," VT Halter Marine's Executive Vice President Jack Prendergast said.

Five people were injured during the accident; two were taken to USA Medical Center in Mobile and the other three to Singing River Hospital. One of those taken to Mobile was a crane operator who was initially taken to Singing River.

Thomas McCauley has been an employee of the facility for three months. He said hearing about the accident before his shift made him feel uneasy.

"It's kind of leery because I could've been walking down here, you know, on the yard or to the ship and working. I mean, my wife is scared, you know, but it's work. We gotta work and provide for our families," McCauley said.

VT Halter Marine officials said an investigation is underway and they will continue to do what it takes to make sure their employees stay safe.

"Safety is a priority at VT Halter Marine, and we want to make sure that this sort of incident doesn't happen again. It's because our employees really are our number one priority," Prendergast said.

McCauley said he will take the unexpected accident as a way to stay cautious in the future.

"I don't know how this could have happened if they had their head on and everybody was in the game. I'm going to be looking around. Looking around a lot. Safety first, all the time," McCauley said.

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