Bridge worker on the mend after accident

Posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A 32-year-old worker on the Kenai River bridge project in Soldotna is recovering from injuries he received in the first serious accident since the project began.

Christopher Rasmussen, of Soldotna, received a glancing blow from a steel crane hook ball that fell when the crane operator’s foot reportedly slipped off the brake, according to Scott Harter, project manager for Wilder Construction.

After the incident occurred at about 9 p.m. April 21, the crane operator reportedly fled the scene.

“He was all shook up,” Harter said.

“He was the operator; he’s responsible for the equipment; and it happened to him,” he said.

The operator calmed down, however, and reported to Central Peninsula General Hospital for standard drug testing, which is required by Wilder following any serious incident.

“All the tests came back negative,” Harter said.

“I think it was just an unfortunate accident,” Harter said.

Central Emergency Services medics responded to the accident and took Rasmussen to CPGH where he was treated for back injuries.

On Monday, Rasmussen was contacted at home and said he is “just trying to let my fractures heal.”

He was hospitalized at CPGH from April 21 to May 1.

He said when the incident occurred, he had been placing iron cutoffs on a flatbed trailer when “the headache ball came out of the sky and hit me.”

He said the crane ball weighs between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds.

Rasmussen, who has worked for Wilder for one year, said he has been in construction seven years and recently completed his apprenticeship.

Because of the back injuries, he said he is “gettin’ a little bit better,” but said he would likely not be going back to work this year.

He is a member of Anchorage Local 2520 pile drivers, a division of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners union.

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