Body of 5th victim recovered from debris after crane collapse in B.C.
Specialized team of first responders from Vancouver recovered man's body in Kelowna Tuesday night
A specialized team of first responders has recovered the body of a man who was killed when a construction crane collapsed into his office building earlier this week in Kelowna, B.C.
Vancouver's heavy urban search-and-rescue team safely removed the victim's body around 12:30 a.m. PT after more than six hours of work, according to the team's lead.
"We were successful in achieving the plan that we laid out and we worked with the team with Kelowna fire throughout the night," David Boone told CBC News on Wednesday.
"The family can have some closure here and, hopefully, the community can get back to some normalcy with the fact that that victim has now been recovered."
The Vancouver-based rescue team comprised of firefighters, paramedics, police and an engineer is one of six such teams in Canada.
Their work began around 5:30 p.m. PT on Tuesday after an assessment of the site, where a crane collapsed from above a 25-storey residential tower under construction and slammed into a neighbouring office building at around 10:45 a.m. PT on Monday.
Crews worked to keep debris stable
The man recovered by the search-and-rescue team had been working in the tower next-door. He was buried beneath the rubble.
Twisted steel from the top half of the crane still rests on the partially collapsed office building.
"There was a lot of instability with regards to some of the debris that was remaining, so we had to ensure that whatever we moved wouldn't disrupt whatever was below it and complicate the matters of recovery," said Boone, who is also an assistant chief with Vancouver Fire Rescue Services.
A total of five men were killed when the crane collapsed. Four were subcontractors who'd been working on the construction of the Brooklyn building on Bernard Avenue.
WATCH | Victims of Kelowna, B.C., crane collapse remembered:
The mayor of Kelowna said the city is still trying to process the loss.
"I think the hardest thing [we're] trying to come to grips with is that several people going to work yesterday morning ... their loved ones expected them to come home and they're not," said Mayor Colin Basran.
"That is hard to come to terms with, and my heart breaks for the families," he said. "I hope that those who know them will rally around them and support them through what will be a difficult time in the days, weeks [and] months ahead."
State of emergency still in effect
The RCMP, BC Coroners Service and WorkSafeBC are investigating the collapse.
Mounties said the cause was not immediately clear, but officials believe something "catastrophic" happened while workers on the site were preparing to dismantle the crane.
A state of emergency remains in effect for the city of Kelowna.
Workers and residents around the area where the crane fell are under an evacuation order as crews work to safely stabilize and remove the steel.
"We ask that people be respectful and please stay away from the area to allow the work that needs to be done to be completed so it can then be stabilized and we can get people back into their homes and back into their workplaces — which we hope will be days, not weeks," said Basran.
LISTEN | Search-and-rescue leader explains the recovery operation:
With files from Eva Uguen-Csenge, CBC's Daybreak South and The Canadian Press