A crane has collapsed on Sydney Harbour, launching a metal wire into Luna Park's iconic face entrance in what's been labelled a "catastrophic failure" that could have killed someone.
The 220-tonne purpose-built crane which sits on a barge off Milsons Point plummeted into the water after 1pm on Tuesday when its cable snapped.
The barge was ready to be relocated and four workers were attempting to remove enormous mooring blocks under the water when the wire snapped.
A section, which was connected to a metal hook weighing about half a tonne, was flung across to land and came to rest on the Luna Park face.
While nobody was injured, Maritime Union of Australia spokesman Paul Garrett said the outcome could have been far worse.
“There’s just been an absolute, unbelievable, near-miss,” he told reporters at the scene.
“It only has to go a couple of degrees either way and someone’s dead.”
Some witnesses likened the sound of the crane coming down to a bomb going off.
CFMEU NSW secretary Brian Parker says inspectors will examine the crane’s service records.
He pointed the finger at SafeWork NSW – which has overall responsibility for workplace safety – and the state government for relying too much on self-regulation in the construction industry.
“Self-regulation is alright if you’re working in an office and the worst thing that can happen to you is a paper cut,” he said.
SafeWork executive director Peter Dunphy admits it was a “catastrophic failure”.
He couldn’t give details of the Waterway Construction crane’s last safety inspection but said all cranes were classified high-risk and subject to rigorous checks.
“We are very committed to ensuring that all aspects of crane safety are complied with in NSW,” Mr Dunphy told reporters.
The incident comes three weeks after another crane toppled into an apartment building in Wolli Creek.
A Roads and Maritime Services spokesman said work on the harbour site was stopped immediately.
The section of wire hung from Luna Park’s famous face before it was removed using a cherry picker several hours after the incident.
“There appears to be some damage to the face which we are yet to examine,” a park spokesman said.
Waterway Constructions has been contacted for comment.
By Jamie McKinnell