2 Injured as Crane Collapses at California Fun Park

Two workers were injured Tuesday when a crane set up to perform maintenance on a ride at a Northern California fun park collapsed along with a portion of the ride, officials said.

Sacramento Metro Fire Assistant Chief Scott Cockrum said two maintenance workers were in harnesses on top of the Scandia Screamer, a 165-foot-high rotating arm that was installed at the amusement park in 2007, when it fell over about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. A third man was at the base of the crane operating the arm when the accident occurred, he said.

The men had been removing the arm of the ride when the weight overwhelmed the crane and it tipped into a miniature golf course, along with a portion of a batting cage in the park.

Both technicians working at the top were left dangling by their harness about 70 feet in the air but only one was injured. That worker injured his arm when it became trapped between two pieces of metal. He also had a compound fracture to the large bone in his leg.

Cockrum said the injured technician "was conscious and alert and active and yelling, trying to get some help."

The crane operator also suffered minor bruising and injuries. "As it tipped over, he got banged up," Cockrum said.

A fire truck that had been driving by was able to get to the scene and rescue the worker from the ride.

A person who answered the telephone at Scandia said the park's general manager was not immediately available for comment.

The Screamer has become the most noticeable attraction at the Scandia Family Fun Center along Interstate 80, east of the state capital.

The Screamer is a windmill-like contraption that flips riders as it spins around, sending people plunging toward Earth at nearly 60 mph. Neighbors complaining about the constant screeches from riders forced the park to implement a "no screaming" policy just weeks after the ride opened.

The Sacramento Bee quoted Sacramento Metro Fire Department spokesman Dale Turner as saying the men were performing scheduled maintenance on the Screamer, which was not in operation at the time.

The two injured men were taken to Mercy San Juan hospital. The park was open at the time, but Cockrum was not aware of how many people were in attendance.

The area immediately around the crane and the ride had been blocked off and no one on the ground was injured.

Jason Ramos, a spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, said the identities of the two injured workers were not immediately available.

Scandia has a "very clean record" for employee safety, with one incident listed in the past 10 years, said Erika Monterroza, spokeswoman for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, known as Cal/OSHA.

The violation was at Scandia's park in Ontario and involved an injury to an employee who was painting a ride about 42 feet above the ground when a supervisor sent a car forward on the ride, breaking part of the worker's harness, state records indicated. The worker fell on a shed and rolled to a concrete floor, injuring his back, and was hospitalized for 25 days.

Investigators from Cal/OSHA's amusement ride unit were traveling to the park Tuesday evening, Monterroza said.