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Crane collapse amid severe weather leaves at least 1 dead in Dallas, 5 wounded

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
June 11, 2019, 2:52:23 PM EDT


A large construction crane collapsed onto an apartment building in Dallas on Sunday, killing at least one and sending another five to the hospital, officials said. The crane came tumbling down as severe weather was sweeping through the area, though as of Monday officials had not identified a cause of the collapse.

Dallas was under a severe thunderstorm warning at the time of the crane collapse as heavy rain and hail broke out and wind gusts of 70 mph were recorded in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Parts of the Dallas Love Field Airport, where a gust of 71 mph was reported, sustained damage on Sunday amid powerful wind gusts.

The crane, which had been situated at a construction site on an adjacent property, came crashing down at approximately 2 p.m. local time, crushing a part of the Elan City Lights apartment complex and leaving the building's parking garage severely damaged. Photos from the scene showed cars crumpled and tossed about in the rubble.

On Monday, the Dallas Medical Examiner's office identified Kiersten Symone Smith, 29, as the woman who was killed in the collapse, The Houston Chronicle reported. Two victims were hospitalized in critical condition and two were in serious condition. A fifth victim was treated for minor injuries and released, Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesperson Jason Evans said, according to The Dallas Morning News.

(Michael Santana via AP)

This photo taken and provided by Michael Santana shows a construction crane toppling on an apartment building as it was buffeted by high winds during a storm in Dallas, Texas, Sunday, June 9, 2019.

(Michael Santana via AP)

This photo taken and provided by Michael Santana shows a construction crane laying on an apartment building after it was buffeted by high winds during a storm in Dallas, Texas, Sunday, June 9, 2019.

(Michael Santana via AP)

This photo taken and provided by Michael Santana shows a construction crane toppling on an apartment building as it was buffeted by high winds during a storm in Dallas, Texas, Sunday, June 9, 2019.


Rescue teams searched the rest of the apartment complex, which housed 468 units and, according to CBS DFW, and found no other victims. The entire structure has been evacuated. People who live in the building described a terrifying scene. “My walls started to shake a little bit," David Mendoza told CBS DFW. "I looked out and the entire courtyard had turned completely white from the debris.” Mendoza said he and a neighbor then helped rescue a man who was trapped in his car in the middle of the debris.

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Heavy winds from severe storms moved throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area Sunday afternoon, and on Monday officials blamed a second fatality on the violent weather. NBC DFW reported that a woman in her 50s drowned after the sailboat she was riding aboard with friends was capsized when a severe thunderstorm whipped through.

Police said the boat was thrown upside down by high winds on Eagle Mountain Lake, which is about an hour west of Dallas and 15 miles north of Fort Worth. The person operating the vessel was eventually able to command control of the boat again, but attempts to locate the woman who went overboard were thwarted when winds pushed the boat off course and into shallow waters. The area was reportedly under a severe thunderstorm warning when the sailboat capsized.

Searchers later recovered the woman's body from the lake about 100 yards from where she went overboard and pronounced her dead at the scene. Authorities had not identified the woman on Monday.

"Storms started off as some heavy rainfall and stronger wind gusts north of Dallas but really intensified as they moved into the Dallas area," AccuWeather Meteorologist Alan Reppert said about the outbreak of severe weather.

The same cluster of thunderstorms brought flooding and wind damage to the Oklahoma City area on Sunday morning.


"Not only were there wind gusts close to hurricane-force, or 74 mph, but there were also reports of hail up to 1.5 inches with this storm and heavy downpours," Reppert said.

According to the city, some 200 trees were downed by the powerful storms. Ping pong-sized hail slammed the suburb of Garland.

About 140,000 people were still without power in Texas as of early Tuesday morning, according to poweroutage.us. Several streets around the site of the crane collapse remain close.

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