OAKLAND -- A large crane working to remove temporary support structures on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge collapsed after dropping a 129-ton piece of metal it was removing from underneath the bridge shortly after noon Thursday, a project spokesman said.
No one was injured, and the span itself was not damaged.
The crane, mounted on a barge, was working with another crane to lower a section of the bridge's temporary support structure, said Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman John Goodwin. The large bridge piece was in a basket being lowered onto the barge, when the 258,000 pound piece of metal suddenly slipped out and caused the crane to topple, Goodwin added. Officials continue to investigate what caused the piece to slip from the basket.
The incident is not expected to delay the planned opening of the structure in September, said Bay Bridge project spokesman Andrew Gordon.
Witnesses heard a very loud rushing sound as the crane, which has a 168-foot boom, began to topple.
"It sounded like a jet, like something taking off, so we all looked to the sky," said J.P. Cabrera, a 20-year-old security guard working on Treasure Island, near where the crane fell.
The rushing was followed by a clanking sound, he said, then an immense splash.
"I was worried," Cabrera said. "Seeing something like that happen is incredulous to me. I couldn't believe that could happen."
Gordon said the crane remained on the barge when it fell, and the barge does not appear to be at risk of sinking. He said he was not aware of any part of the crane falling or sinking into the water, but television footage appeared to show at least a portion of the crane's arm dangling off the side of the barge.
There were no reports of fluid or fuel leaking into the bay, Gordon said.
Staff writerKristin J. Bender contributed to this story.