Crane accident kills ‘Spider-Man’ welder

Breeze could have been a factor, deputy sez

A welder building sets for the Sony movie “Spider-Man” in Downey was killed Tuesday when a crane toppled onto a construction basket in which he was riding, authorities said.

Cranes were lifting a 15-by-25-foot metal sign framework to the top of a building facade just after 9 a.m. when it shifted, causing one crane to topple. The crane arm hit a suspended basket carrying two welders, Deputy Fire Marshal Robert Rowe said.

A 45-year-old worker was struck in the head and died instantly, Rowe said. His identity was not immediately released.

Wind a factor

“There was a slight breeze this morning, and that could have been a factor” in the accident, Rowe said.

The man’s body remained in the basket, about 20 feet in the air, for several hours as state and local authorities investigated. “They were trying to make sure that the crane was secure before they moved it,” Rowe said.

There were 30 to 40 construction workers at the site. Work was shut down while the accident was investigated.

Rowe said it was the first accident since construction of the sets began several months ago at the former Rockwell aircraft assembly plant.

No filming had been done and no actors were on the uncompleted sets, he added.

“Spider-Man,” based on the Marvel Comics hero, is scheduled to open next year and will star Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe and Kirsten Dunst.

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