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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Man crushed under crane is named
Part of the crane crashed into the black of flats
The flats were evacuated after the crane collapse
A man crushed to death when he was hit by a crane as he washed his car has been named as Michael Alexa.

The 23-year-old bus driver was one of two people killed when a 165ft (50m) machine collapsed onto a block of flats in Battersea, south-west London.

The crane driver, 37, employed by Norfolk-based Falcon Crane Hire, also died when he was thrown from the machine cab in the accident on Tuesday.

The site has been closed and the Health and Safety Executive is investigating.

Workers from construction company Barratt gathered to pay their respects at the site of collapse near Battersea Power station.

Mr Alexa was a well-liked employee
Colin Farrant

Colin Farrant, commercial manager of his Mr Alexa's employer, London General, said he was a father-of-one who lived with his partner.

He said: "All staff and colleagues are greatly shocked by this tragic accident. Mr Alexa was a well-liked employee."

Witnesses said Mr Alexa was crushed when the jib of the crane became detached from the mast and crashed to the ground, also hitting a two-storey block of flats.

Neighbours said members of his family live on the nearby Savona Estate, opposite where the tragedy took place.

The crane had smashed through him and through the concrete ground
Eyewitness Leon Gooding

Police said the body of the 23-year-old had still not been recovered as officers were waiting for two more cranes to remove the wreckage.

Leon Gooding, who was inside the block of flats hit by the crane, said he heard the high-pitched sound of breaking metal before seeing it come crashing down.

He said: "The whole structure was bent. I looked down into the car park and I could see a man lying on a car, he looked like he was sitting in the windscreen.

"The crane had smashed through him and through the concrete ground."

Unusual incident

A police spokesman said 25 flats and maisonettes on the Patmore Estate were evacuated but no-one inside had been hurt.

Residents, who live next to the site, described the collapse as similar to a bomb going off.

A number of residents said they had complained to the council earlier on Tuesday about the proximity of the crane to their homes, although Wandsworth Council could not confirm this.

Martin Linton, Labour MP for Battersea, said: "This tragic incident happened when the jib of the crane broke off the mast. It's a very unusual incident."

The collapsed crane in Battersea. Picture Pablo Behrens
The crane collapsed on a development. Picture Pablo Behrens

The MP said residents had been moved from the block of flats to a hotel in Brent Cross, north London.

He said he hoped they would be moved to hotels closer to Battersea and allowed back to collect their possessions.

Det Supt Guy Ferguson said a joint investigation into the accident was under way.

In a statement, Barratt said it was co-operating with the investigating authorities.

"Our own health and safety team and a senior management team are present on site," it said, adding that the company would be carrying out its own investigation.

An employee from Falcon Crane Hire said staff were "distraught".

See local people's reaction to the tragedy


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