Crews in Nanaimo manage to get toppled crane truck right-side up

Crane company uses auxiliary hydraulic unit to solve problem that was holding up recovery operation

A problem that proved a head-scratcher for engineers and emergency services was solved Tuesday when a crane truck that had tipped over and damaged two four-plex condominium units was righted and cleared from the scene.

The accident happened on the 6100 block of Cedar Grove Drive Monday morning, but it took a full day and a half to puzzle out how to best right the truck, which had toppled with its crane boom fully extended, to avoid causing additional property damage.

RELATED: Crane truck tips onto two condominiums in Nanaimo

As of Tuesday afternoon, Gorosh Cranes, contracted to right the tipped truck, had three large cranes on the scene to stabilize the wreck.

Steele Gorosh, president of Gorosh Cranes, said the company was still clearing equipment from the accident site Wednesday morning, but the truck was righted at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and was hauled out later that night.

A major problem that held up the operation was finding a way to get the truck’s crane boom, damaged in the accident, to retract before the truck could be righted. The solution lay with an auxiliary hydraulic pump, called a wet kit, aboard one of Gorosh’s service trucks that can be used to power a crane’s hydraulics without running the crane’s engine.

“We basically use it as a kidney machine, so we took the hydraulic hoses off that truck, tied them into the hydraulics on the crane,” Gorosh said.

Once the crane’s hydraulics were powered, crews were able to retract the truck’s stabilizer outriggers and its crane boom. Once the boom was in they were able to set the truck back on its wheels.

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Because the truck’s crane boom was bent in the accident there was speculation it could not be retracted and that it would have to be cut apart and removed in pieces.

“I guess it wasn’t bent as bad as everyone thought, so they got very lucky … it went far better than anyone expected,” Gorosh said.

He said the operation was particularly tricky because the boom was lying in front of one building and lying atop a second building.

“You always want to minimize the damage to property and to the machine itself and you can’t put anyone in harm’s way,” Gorosh said. “When you’re trying to do all those things it’s very difficult.”

Nanaimo Fire Rescue trucks and crews had to remain on scene for the duration of the operation in case a second mishap or injuries occurred during efforts to retrieve the stricken vehicle.

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A crane truck that toppled onto condominiums on Cedar Grove Drive in Nanaimo was righted and towed from the scene Tuesday night. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

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