Excavator rescue

06 May 2008

Last month UK crane rental house Crane Services was called out on an unusual rescue mission. A 26 tonne excavator had fallen into a shaft on a site at Tadcaster in the north of England and had to be recovered. The excavator was lifting a skip of spoil from the shaft and landed upside down, resting at an angle, on top of a mini excavator 8 m down at the bottom of the 10 m diameter shaft.

Crane Services received the call at 2 p.m. on a Friday and, having prepared all the necessary documentation, lift plan, equipment requirements, etc. for a contract lift, was on site at 8 a.m. the next day with a 500 tonne capacity Liebherr LTM 1500 and a 400 tonne Demag AC 400. With the telescopic mobiles was counterweight, steel mats, heavy lifting equipment and a man basket.

Slingers were lowered down the shaft in the man basket and they attached collar chains to the inverted excavator's undercarriage. The Liebherr, rigged with 165 tonnes of counterweight and working on 68.1 m of main boom at a radius of 37 m (SWL 31.5 tonnes), lifted the excavator, with skip still attached, out of the shaft. Total load of the excavator plus the skip and chains was about 29 tonnes.

Bolts holding the ballast on the excavator had sheared during the fall and the Demag was used to remove it. After repositioning the slings and attaching the Demag to the excavator, the two cranes lifted it in a top and tail operation to get it back on its tracks.

Crane Services is updating its fleet with three new cranes-a 130 tonne capacity Grove GMK 5130-1, 70 and 90 tonne Liebherr LTM 1070-4.1 and 1090-4.1. All three cranes were specified with hydraulic fly jibs.

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