Operator injured after drill rig crashes in Salt Lake City’s State Street

Mar 15, 2022, 9:50 PM | Updated: Mar 16, 2022, 8:28 am
A crane fell across lanes of traffic on State Street in Salt Lake City at 200 South. One man was in...
A crane fell across lanes of traffic on State Street in Salt Lake City at 200 South. One man was injured. (KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — A drill rig fell across State Street at 200 South from a construction site on the corner that was home to a burger joint that was previously leveled.

The wreckage was still blocking southbound State Street lanes between 100 South and 200 South Wednesday morning.

Jacobsen Construction spokesperson Amy Christensen said a subcontractor was working on foundation drilling when the rig toppled into the road.

“All of the professionals who work on our sites are family, and their safety and wellbeing are our top priority. We are committed to learning as much about what caused this and taking proactive steps to ensure the continued safety at this project site,” Christensen said. Her full statement can be read at the bottom of this article.

Capt. Shaun Mumedy said the operator was the only person injured.

The operator was taken to an area hospital for leg and shoulder pain after falling approximately 20 feet. Christensen said the operator suffered a small back fracture, which is expected to heal with rest and not be a long-term health issue.

The falling crane landed on two unoccupied cars.

It is not yet known what caused the rig to topple but the incident is under investigation.

“We were very lucky,” Mumedy said. “Fortunately it was a Tuesday night in downtown Salt Lake and there wasn’t much going on as far as foot traffic right here in front of the construction site.”

Hazardous materials crews were on hand as a precaution.

Jill Wiscomb, who owns one of the crushed cars, said she left the Eccles Theater and saw all the flashing lights.

“My husband said, ‘I think that’s where I parked,’ and I said, ‘I think that’s my car that’s underneath that is smashed,” Wiscomb said. “It happened five minutes before we got there, so that was a little alarming.”

She said she has never seen anything like it.

Full statement from Jacobsen Construction spokesperson Amy Christensen:

“Concerning last night’s incident at our downtown SLC construction site, our top priority continues to be the wellbeing of our subcontracting drill rig operator with the Morris-Shea Bridge Co. who was preparing soil for further foundation work at the site when an equipment extension toppled into two southbound lanes on State Street.

“This morning, we are happy to report that the drill rig (not crane) operator’s supervisors have updated us on his condition this morning, and the report is good; he was diagnosed to have a small fracture in his lower back, and latest reports are that there will be no treatment other than rest, and that it is expected to heal in time and not be a long-term health issue.  He was said to be bruised and sore, but in good spirits. Some breaking broadcasts reported earlier that the rig operator was in critical or serious condition, which was fortunately not the case.

“Following the incident, we activated our response teams, which are trained and prepared for circumstances like this. We don’t yet have all the details of how this occurred but are suspending operations for 24 hours while gathering information for a safety investigation.

“We can also confirm that two unoccupied parked cars were impacted when the drill rig fell, with no injuries to anyone besides the drill rig operator. We are cooperating with authorities and doing everything we can to address the situation for those traveling on the impacted street. The equipment that fell into two southbound lanes of traffic on State Street will remain in place for 24 hours; traffic will be diverted during that time.

“Our construction and safety teams have been proactive in planning and providing ongoing training to help our workers to be as safe as possible as well as to be prepared to respond quickly and effectively in the event of an incident like this. We are thorough in our planning, training, inspection and operation of rigs and cranes.

“Because downtown construction involves complex and sometimes delicate work, our company’s safety standards are more stringent than those set forth by most local, state and federal agencies as well as other construction companies. All of the professionals who work on our sites are part of our construction family, and their safety and wellbeing are our top priority. We are committed to learning as much about what caused this and taking proactive steps to ensure the continued safety at this project site.”

KSL 5 TV Live

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Operator injured after drill rig crashes in Salt Lake City’s State Street