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Operator injured after drill rig collapses in downtown Salt Lake City

Posted at 9:51 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 14:30:46-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A drill rig collapsed in downtown Salt Lake City Tuesday night, landing on top of two parked cars and injuring the operator.

According to the SLC Fire Department, the rig collapsed around 9 p.m. and fell about 20 feet, landing on two parked cars near 200 S. State Street.

The operator of the rig was injured and was taken to the hospital after falling about 20 feet.

The accident occurred at the construction site of the future "Astra Tower" — a 39-story, 400-foot skyscraper luxury apartment building, according to the Downtown Alliance website.

The manager of neighboring business Jeanie's Smoke Shop told FOX 13 News the incident was scary.

"It makes me feel a little bit unsafe. Second guessing. I had just assumed everything over there was going to be fine and obviously that’s not the case," said Derek Humphleet.

A spokesperson for Jacobsen Construction, the general contractor for the project, on Wednesday morning said the worker had a fracture in his back but was otherwise OK, and recovering.

"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," said Amy Christensen, a spokesperson for Jacobsen.

Initially after the accident, first responders reported that the operator was taken to the hospital in serious condition, but Christensen said their condition was upgraded after being examined by doctors at the hospital.

The company said they have never seen something like it happen before, but they have a lot of safety protocols in place.

Christensen said the drill rig operator was a subcontracter with the Morris-Shea Bridge Co. who was preparing soil for foundation work at the site when an equipment extension toppled into two southbound lanes on State Street.

The two vehicles crushed by the drill rig were unoccupied at the time.

The equipment that fell into two southbound lanes of traffic on State Street will stay there for 24 hours, officials estimated, and traffic will be diverted around the area.