Construction crane collapses in downtown Bradenton, killing worker

A 45-year-old construction worker was killed Thursday morning after a crane collapsed, pinning him underneath it at the Twin Dolphin Marina in downtown Bradenton.

Bradenton police officers, who were working outside their headquarters across the street from the marina, heard the crane and saw it fall and ran to the scene just before 9:30 a.m., according to Capt. Brian Thiers, who was among the officers.

“One of the workers was drilling into the pilings and they saw the crane start to go,” Thiers said.

Chadwick Adam Brown, who was not operating the crane, tried to get out of the way, but he was pinned underneath.

At least 30 to 40 construction workers, including those from the nearby project at the South Florida Museum, police officers and others, were able to lift the crane and free Brown. He fell into the water and was pulled out. Police began CPR until the Bradenton Fire Department and paramedics arrived.

Brown’s injuries were too severe, however, and he died shortly after on the dock.

Another construction worker was injured, not during the collapse, but during the attempts to save Brown. He was taken by paramedics to a local hospital to be treated.

“It appears as though the crane snapped,” Bradenton Police Chief Melanie Bevan later said during a media briefing. “it clearly was a horrific accident.”

Bradenton police are handling the initial death investigation, which has already been preliminarily ruled an accident, according to Bevan.

Officers and construction workers at the scene were visibly distraught. One construction worker was sitting crying as he was comforted by another worker when paramedics were working to save their coworker.

The $5.2 million renovation and expansion of the city-owned Twin Dolphin Marina has been underway for several months. The project has been partially funded by a $1.3 milion grant the city received through Florida Fish & Wildlife’s boating infrastructure grant program.

“We are deeply saddened by the horrific accident that claimed a man’s life this morning at Twin Dolphin Marina. All of us at the city of Bradenton extend our condolences to the victim’s family and friends, as well as to his co-workers who were on the scene.,” Mayor Wayne Poston said in an issued statement. “The heroic efforts of officers from the Bradenton Police Department, Bradenton Fire Rescue and dozens of workers and civilians who rushed in to help should be acknowledged. Our ongoing prayers are with the victim’s family at this most painful time.”

The marina is operated by Hugh Miller, the owner of the adjacent Pier 22 restaurant, who has had a long-term lease with the city and is funding the remainder of the project.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of an endeared employee of the general contractor working on the Twin Dolphin Marina Construction Project,” Miller said in an issued statement. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the family, co-workers and friends.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Florida Department of Environmental Protection State Watch Office have been notified of the accident. An OSHA inspector later arrived on scene and was taking photos of the crane.

Brown, of St. Petersburg, was a foreman with All American Concrete, based out off Largo, which has been contracted for the project at Twin Dolphin. He was married with children.

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Sara Nealeigh contributed to this story.