Neighbors describe the moment 2 construction cranes crashed in Mueller area


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Crystal Brown’s morning bike ride took an intense turn on Wednesday.

“We were riding our bikes,” said Brown, who lives in the east Austin Mueller neighborhood. “We were coming down here, and we saw construction workers like running toward us, and they were looking back.”

The workers were looking back at the future site of the Mueller Parking Garage—a construction site that became the site of disaster on Wednesday when two cranes collided.

The incident prompted Austin-Travis County EMS and Austin Fire Department to jump into action, with ATCEMS assigning eight ambulances to the scene. All in all, 16 construction workers were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

While the scene was cleared by the afternoon, Brown and her biking companion were still taken aback by what they saw when the looked into the sky over Mueller that morning.

(KXAN/Todd Bynum)

“We actually looked up to see the tangled construction vehicles all tangled up,” said Brown. “The red one was actually more tangled up into the blue one, and it actually looked like the red one was going to come down. So I guess that’s why everyone was running.”

At the same time, Diane Stewart, a neighborhood resident of two years, says her morning was interrupted not by a sight, but by a sound.

“It’s a construction site here in Mueller, so you just get used to the noise,” Stewart said.

But on Wednesday morning, the noise was different.

“It was crazy loud. It sounded like a crash. Like a really loud crash,” Stewart said. “Then it sounded like pipes being moved around, like pipes rolling… I started talking to some people, and they said they saw the crane hit.”

Through the mayhem, Stewart says she was impressed with the way ATCEMS and AFD reported to the scene.

“The first responders? They came so fast,” Stewart added. “In a heartbeat. So kudos to them, man. They responded rather quickly.”

After hours of crews working to safely untangle the two cranes’ wires, they were separated without any major issues. A crane operator who had been inside one of the cabs all day was finally able to climb down Wednesday evening.

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