Portland ironworker killed in crane mishap in Seattle

Travis Corbet, on a Portland job site. (Photo provided to KING5 TV by Samantha Corbet)

Two union ironworkers were killed April 27 when a tower crane they were dismantling at Google’s new downtown Seattle campus collapsed. Travis Corbet, 33, was a member of Portland Iron Workers Local 29, and Andrew Yoder, 31, was a member of Seattle Iron Workers Local 86.

Both men were in the crane when it toppled from atop the building onto a busy downtown intersection.

Also killed were Sarah Wong, a 19-year-old college student, and Alan Justad, 71, a retired deputy director of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development. Both were in vehicles that were crushed.

Four others were injured.

News reports from Seattle said investigators opened a probe into five companies — general contractor GLY, Northwest Tower Crane Service Inc., Omega Rigging and Machinery Moving Inc., Morrow Equipment Co. LLC, and Seaburg Construction Corp.

At press time investigators were still trying to figure out what caused the tower crane to fall. Witnesses told several media outlets that wind gusts had picked up at the time of the accident.

At one point during construction, three large tower cranes were on the Google project. Two of the cranes had already been disassembled.

Joe Bowers, business manager of Local 29, said Corbet had traveled around the country erecting and dismantling tower cranes.

He said Corbet joined the union in 2009 and was a graduate of the union apprenticeship program. He was a veteran and newly wed. His wife Samantha  had just completed nursing school, and the couple planned to go on their honeymoon in June.


Ironworkers USA Credit Union has set up a donation account to assist the Corbet and Yoder families during the tragedy. To contribute, visit ironworkersfcu.org/ironworker or call 1-877-769-4766.


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