Proving Controlled Demolition
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How much evidence do you need to prove controlled demolition? It's an interesting question. Consider these points regarding the collapse of the Lampson Transi-Lift 3 crane (Big Blue).

1. Foreknowledge

The crane was being filmed at the time of its collapse. Several seconds before the structure fell, a voice was heard to say "it's coming down". Could he have known about explosives planted on the crane? How else would he know that in less than a minute the crane would collapse?

2. Explosions recorded on video

A few moments after the "it's coming down" comment, the video records two or three massive explosions. These can't have been caused by the crane falling, because they occur before the collapse takes place.

3. Witnesses report “bombs”

Could the explosions have been some odd artefact recorded on the video only? No, witnesses reported them too.

"It was like two bombs going off. It was like two explosions," Craig said. "When I went outside I looked around and saw the helicopters hovering over the stadium, and I could see that the crane was gone."

4. Nature of the collapse

If this massive, solid structure were to fall then you'd expect it to topple over, but instead it seems to break up and fall very rapidly to the ground. How can this possibly have happened without some assistance?

Don't take our word for it. The "it's coming down" comment, the explosions clearly occuring before the collapse, and the fall itself are all captured on video. Watch it here

It's a convincing case. Mysterious helicopters, eye-witness reports of bombs, a video recording the enormous explosions occurring before the crane falls... What more do you need? And yet, if you think this was "controlled demolition" then you'd be mistaken, because this wasn't what happened at all.

So what's the real explanation? Well, turns out that the crane was in the process of lowering a massive section of roof at the time a bystander said "It's coming down." He was talking about the load, not the crane.

The "explosions" weren't actually explosions, either. They were the sound of metal failing, a "foot-think kingpin bolt" as described on "Modern Marvels: Engineering Disasters 18" on the History Channel (click here for an animated look at what caused the noises):

"OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration moved immediately to investigate. Still photos from the seen showed the stadium flag in full flourish, an early sign that high winds had played the decisive role. The wind was estimated at ten to twenty miles per hour at ground level, and even gustier where the load had dangled from Big Blue."

Paul Zorich, Crane Expert, RZP International Ltd
"And since it’s so close to the edge of the stadium, you’re getting a, a rolling effect from these winds, and increasing your velocity. I mean you’re talking about, this is like a hundred ninety, two hundred feet in the air where this, where the wind is coming over the stadium. So it’s coming against the stadium, rolling up over it, and blowing against the loads."

"The heavier the load, the lower the acceptable wind speed. But OSHA determined that crane operators, rushing to keep on schedule had negligently failed to take any wind measurements. Winds over ten miles per hour should have postponed the lift. Instead the crew went forward with gusts exceeding thirty miles per hour. The load had swayed so severely that a foot-thick kingpin bolt securing the crane’s base had nearly sheared off, causing the loud pops heard by eye-witnesses and toppling the crane."

This is a perfect example of just what happens to steel under this kind of pressure when it loses critical support. Failure that sounds just like "bombs", for instance, but no exotic munitions required. And when it starts to collapse under that kind of load, it doesn't wait around.

Brandon Wright

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