Big Blue Crane collapse

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Big Blue Crane collapse
DateJuly 14, 1999 (1999-07-14)
VenueMiller Park
LocationMilwaukee, Wisconsin
Coordinates43°01′39.7″N 87°58′20.6″W / 43.027694°N 87.972389°W / 43.027694; -87.972389Coordinates: 43°01′39.7″N 87°58′20.6″W / 43.027694°N 87.972389°W / 43.027694; -87.972389
TypeCrane collapse
Non-fatal injuries5

The Big Blue was a Lampson LTL-1500 Transi-Lift heavy lift crawler crane that collapsed on July 14, 1999, killing three iron workers.


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.[1][2] 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.[2][3] A safety inspector 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.[3] The boom was rated to 20 miles per hour (32 km/h), and other workers had expressed concern at the speed of the wind.[2][3]

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[edit]

Three firms were fined a total of over US$500,000 as a result of the collapse.[4] 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,[5] for an undisclosed total of over $99 million. [6]

Teamwork, a bronze sculpture by Omri Amrany, was installed at Miller Park in 2001 to honor the three workers.[6]

Work on Miller Park was later completed with a new crane, a red and white Van Seumeren Demag CC-12600.[7]


  1. ^ Ross, Bernard; McDonald, Brian; Vijay Saraf, S.E. (September 2007). "Big blue goes down. The Miller Park crane accident". Engineering Failure Analysis. 14 (6): 942–961. doi:10.1016/j.engfailanal.2006.12.002.
  2. ^ a b c "Big Blue Crane Accident: A tragic day at Miller Park". The Miller Park Scrapbook. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "The Great American Ballpark (A)". Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  4. ^ "Three Firms Fined For Total of Over Half-Million Dollars". OSHA. January 12, 2000. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Doyle, Candace (June 6, 2001). "Monument, statue honor Miller Park workers". The Daily Reporter. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  7. ^ New red-and-white crane replaces `Big Blue' at Miller Park site The Journal Times, Dec 9, 1999.

External links[edit]