An engineer told an inquiry that he was “horrified” when he realised a colleague had been hit by the jib of a crane he was repairing. Stewart Clark, 29, was working on the construction of the new Queensferry Crossing when the accident happened. John Cousin sustained “unsurvivable injuries” when the steel jib fell on him while Mr Clark was preparing to replace a leaking hydraulic hose.A fatal accident inquiry is being held at Stirling Sheriff Court.The hearing heard that Mr Clark suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the accident in 2016. Giving evidence, he said he had just removed a pin securing the jib, in order to move it out of the way to get access to the hose, when the incident occurred.He added that he left in place a second pin, known as a pivot pin, as he knew that if both pins were removed the jib would fall.Mr Clark, a mechanical fitter for the crane’s owners, the GGR Group, said he had a “minute and a half” discussion with Mr Cousin about moving the jib. “Me and John agreed that the jib needed out the way. He was talking to me, not working on the crane at all,” he said.”I didn’t require any assistance and I didn’t ask for any assistance in any way.”I didn’t have a hammer on site, but there was a large spanner in the hydraulic engine bay and I used that to knock the pin out.”There was a lot of oil around me and I didn’t have any absorbent granules so I went to my bag to get some rags to wipe away the oil that was directly in front of me.”
Mr Clark said he then turned back to his bag, which was on the ground, to get a pair of spanners to undo the nuts securing the leaky hose.He said: “As I went to my bag I heard a noise behind me. I didn’t take any notice because there was a lot of noise all over the site.”As I stood up there was a white flash, and something hit me on the back of the head, then I heard metal hitting the ground.”The next thing I remember is seeing Mr Cousin lying on the ground.”There was blood coming out of his face. He was trying to speak, but he couldn’t.”Mr Clark, who was then based at the GGR Group’s depot in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, said he realised then that his hard hat was no longer on his head and he sat down next to the crane.Mr Clark said: “I couldn’t move. All I did was shout as loudly as I could for help. “There was absolutely nobody close by. I had to shout very, very loudly for help and eventually I saw people coming over.”Boat evacuationMr Clark, who trained with BAE Systems on the construction of the destroyers HMS Dragon and HMS Duncan on the Clyde before joining the GGR Group, said he then remembered Mr Cousin being taken away.He was then helped down the stairs of the north tower by two men, with his arms round each of their necks.He said: “They were propping me up as I was walking down. I couldn’t used my legs at all. I felt shocked. I felt as if I had been nearly killed.”I felt horrified by what had happened, and very scared.”Mr Clark told advocate Barney Ross, for the family of Mr Cousin, who came from Simonburn, Northumberland, that he could “remember not discussing any pins” with Mr Cousin.The inquiry has earlier heard that both pins were found removed, and that Mr Clark had told someone while he was being evacuated by boat that Mr Cousin had taken out the other pin.He said that he could not recall the conversation, but he may have been thinking about how the accident might have occurred.The inquiry, before Sheriff William Gilchrist, continues.
Source: BBC Tyne and Wear