Body of 5th victim recovered from debris after crane collapse in B.C

A specialized team of first responders has recovered the body of a bystander who was killed when a construction crane collapsed into his office building earlier this week in Kelowna, B.C.

The heavy urban search-and-rescue team with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS) safely removed the man’s body around 12:30 a.m. PT after more than six hours of work, according to the team’s lead.

“We were successful in achieving the plan that we laid out and we worked with the team with Kelowna fire throughout the night,” said assistant chief David Boone.

“The family can have some closure here and, hopefully, the community can get back to some normalcy with the fact that that victim has now been recovered.”

The Vancouver-based rescue team comprised of firefighters, paramedics, police and an engineer is one of six such teams in Canada.

Their work began around 5:30 p.m. PT on Tuesday after an assessment of the site, where a crane collapsed from above a 25-storey residential tower under construction and slammed into a neighbouring office building at around 10:45 a.m. PT on Monday.

A worker watches as police investigate the collapsed crane resting on the building it damaged in Kelowna, B.C., on Monday. (Alistair Waters/The Canadian Press)

Crews worked to keep debris stable

The man recovered by the search-and-rescue team had been working in the tower next-door. He was buried beneath the rubble. 

Twisted steel from the top half of the crane still rests on the partially collapsed office building.

“There was a lot of instability with regards to some of the debris that was remaining, so we had to ensure that whatever we moved wouldn’t disrupt whatever was below it and complicate the matters of recovery,” said Boone.

A total of five men were killed when the crane collapsed. Four were subcontractors who’d been working on the construction of the Brooklyn building on Bernard Avenue.

Two of those workers have been identified as brothers, with a third identified as a 32-year-old man originally from Edmonton.

The RCMP, BC Coroners Service and WorkSafeBC are investigating the collapse. 

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