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Drill rig tips over, pins operator near OHSU campus

Portland Fire and Rescue said the extent of the heavy equipment operator's injuries were unknown.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A 100,000 pound drill rig tipped over and pinned the heavy equipment operator inside near the Oregon Health and Science University campus in Southwest Portland Friday morning.

Portland Fire and Rescue tweeted about the incident on Southwest Campus Drive around 11:20 a.m. The agency said that crews arrived on scene to find the rig on its side, with the seriously injured operator stuck underneath.

Construction workers placed a jack under the rig's cab before firefighters arrived, allowing them to lift the heavy machinery off of the operator so that fire crews could start an extraction.

PF&R's technical rescue team worked to secure the cab so that it wouldn't shift as the worked to reach the operator. Finally, firefighters broke through the glass of the cab, removed the operator and handed them off to an ambulance crew.

The equipment operator has not been identified. While their condition is not known, PF&R said that they were taken to a trauma center for treatment.

RAW VIDEO: A 100,000-pound drill rig on OHSU's campus tipped over with the operator inside. This video shows the operator being carried out. The crane operator was transported to a trauma center and the extent of their injuries is unknown. Read more: https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/construction-crane-pins-operator-ohsu-campus/283-bda62e6c-b680-44e2-8f4a-4cf164d80382

Posted by KGW-TV on Friday, August 12, 2022

The drill rig was operated by contractor Pacific Foundation, though the project is being overseen by construction company Skanska.

"We're going to do an investigation with Pacific Foundation," said Tim Johnson, general manager and executive vice president of Skanska's Portland office. "OHSU will probably be involved, and ourselves and whoever else needs to be."

Johnson said that a mishap like this has not happened on one his projects throughout his career.

"It is rare," Johnson said. "Oh yeah, I'm personally shaken by it."

The construction site is located next to the Casey Eye Institute on the OHSU campus. Construction work has since resumed at the site.

OHSU is Oregon's only public academic health center, with schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry and public health. It is a network of hospitals located across Oregon and southwest Washington. OHSU's primary campuses are the South Waterfront Central District and the Marquam Hill campus in southwest Portland.

Credit: KGW

Last year, OHSU's board of directors approved a project to expand the hospital on Marquam Hill. The five-year project is scheduled to be completed in 2026. Among the changes, the construction will add a total of 184 new inpatient beds, which will increase hospital capacity by a third.

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