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Families of 2 Seattle crane collapse victims sue companies

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SEATTLE -- Family members of two of the four people killed in the April crane collapse site have filed wrongful death suits against companies involved in crane operations at the South Lake Union construction site.

Gusting winds knocked the crane over April 27, after workers prematurely removed pins holding sections together, leading to a tragedy that state regulators called “totally avoidable.” Lawsuits have also been filed by two people who were injured, and Seattle police continue to investigate.

The collapse killed two ironworkers working on the crane, as well as Alan Justad, 71, a former city planning official, and Sarah Wong, a 19-year-old Seattle Pacific University student.

The Seattle Times reports Justad and Wong’s families filed suits in King County Superior Court in late December against Morrow Equipment, GLY Construction, Northwest Tower Crane Service, Omega Morgan, and Seaburg Construction, the five companies responsible for operating and dismantling the crane. The lawsuits seek unspecified damages.

Two other people, Sally Beaven and Ali Edriss, jointly sued the same companies in December. Beaven and Edriss claim they were injured as a result of the crane collapse.

The state Department of Labor and Industries faulted and fined GLY, Northwest Tower Crane and Morrow for failing to adequately supervise the crane disassembly, train workers and follow manufacturer procedures.

GLY CEO Todd Herb said in a statement his company welcomes “a thorough, fair and transparent review” of safety procedures as a result of the lawsuits. GLY was the general contractor on the jobsite. None of the other companies offered comment.

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