WASHINGTON – Alan Weinberger was pulling into his driveway on Bent Branch Road in Bethesda when he saw it.
A crane working to take down a tree toppled over early Saturday afternoon, with the crane’s operator still in the cab and another worker still in the tree.
“I saw the crane tipping and the accident took place,” he says.
Things could have played out in a very different and potentially catastrophic way, Weinberger says. He’s grateful that no one died and there was only minimal damage.
The operator escaped with a broken leg and the other worker wasn’t hurt. Weinberger says at the time of the accident, diesel was leaking from the crane’s fuel tank. He feared the worst.
But to his amazement, the fuel did not spark an explosion, even on a day with a heat index of 110 degrees. The crane and the huge tree also landed between Weinberger’s house and his neighbor’s house, causing only minor damage.
He says he was having the heavy oak tree that was more than 100 years old removed, since it had been damaged in the derecho. But the falling crane was heavy enough to tip the whole tree over, too.
Weinberger says the hard part will be removing the crane, a risky maneuver because of the crane’s location. If the crane ends up toppling the other way, it could take out other massive trees. Those trees in turn could end up taking out a house.