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Fire rescue unit retrieves body of crane driver

Construction firm confirms worker died after being taken ill at Regent's Park site

13 July, 2017 — By Tom Foot

The crane in Stanhope Street

FIREFIGHTERS worked for three hours to bring down the body of a crane driver who died in his cabin at a Regent’s Park building site.

Emergency services could only gain access to the man, believed to be in his 50s, via a ladder running up the central column of the tall crane at the Stanhope Street site. Crews scaled the ladder in searing heat using climbing apparatus and safety harnesses before setting up a rope pulley system.

The man’s body was winched down in a stretcher to the base of the Lovell construction site around 2.30pm on Friday. The Health and Safety Executive said it would launch an investigation.

Lovell regional operations director Mike Maxwell said: “We can confirm that a crane driver working for one of our subcontractors sadly died after being taken ill on-site in Camden last Friday. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends at this very difficult time.”

The rescue mission proved logistically difficult for fire crews whose aerial platform could not reach the crane cabin because of nearby buildings. Lovell is building housing on the site – at the junction with Varndell Street – for residents whose homes are being knocked down because of the HS2 project in 2018.

More than 180 homes in Eskdale, Silverdale and Ainsdale blocks are being demolished to make way for the £63billion railway. The National Temperance Hospital has already been completely demolished and historic St James’s Gardens was closed last week ahead of a major exhumation of tens of thousands of bodies believed to lie in the former burial ground.

Replacement housing blocks are being built on small greens and open spaces between existing blocks on the already- densely-built-up Regent’s Park estate. The Stanhope Street-Varndell Street construction site where the crane driver died was formerly a small green space with tall trees.

The London Fire Brigade said it sent four fire engines, a fire rescue unit and an aerial platform. Its statement added: “We were called at 11.50 to reports of a person taken ill at a building site in Stanhope Street. One man was lowered to ground floor by a fire rescue unit crew.”

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