Big Blue Crane collapse
On July 14, 1999 at approximately 5:12 pm, the Big Blue collapsed during the construction of the Miller Park baseball stadium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a load of over 450 tonnes (440 long tons; 500 short tons) on the hook. Three Iron Workers Local 8 members, Jeffrey Wischer, William DeGrave, and Jerome Starr, were killed when the suspended personnel platform in which they were observing the lift was hit by the falling crane. A camera crew was filming construction of the stadium on that day and captured the collapse on video as it occurred.
Wind speeds were between 20 to 21 miles per hour (32 to 34 km/h), with gusts of up to 26 to 27 miles per hour (42 to 43 km/h), at the time of the collapse. The boom was rated to 20 miles per hour (32 km/h), and other workers had expressed concern at the speed of the wind.
An investigation revealed that although the effects of side winds on the crane itself had been calculated, it had not been considered for the load the crane was lifting.
Aftermath and memorial
Three firms were fined a total of over US$500,000 as a result of the collapse. The widows of the workers, Marjorie DeGrave, Ramona Dulde-Starr and Patricia Wischer, settled a lawsuit against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of America, the company responsible for constructing the retractable roof of the stadium, for $57 million. Attorney Robert L. Habush represented two of the widows in their suit.
- Ross, Bernard; McDonald, Brian; Vijay Saraf, S.E. (September 2007). "Big blue goes down. The Miller Park crane accident". Engineering Failure Analysis. pp. 942–961. doi:10.1016/j.engfailanal.2006.12.002.
- "Big Blue Crane Accident: A tragic day at Miller Park". The Miller Park Scrapbook. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- "The Great American Ballpark (A)". Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- "Three Firms Fined For Total of Over Half-Million Dollars". OSHA. January 12, 2000. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- Doyle, Candace (June 6, 2001). "Monument, statue honor Miller Park workers". The Daily Reporter. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- "Statue will honor Miller Park workers". OnMilwaukee.com. July 17, 2001. Retrieved July 30, 2014.