Massive crane atop Miami high-rise collapses in Irma's winds

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"Streets have to be closed, another crane has to be brought in", he said. With its strong wind gusts ravaging the city, officials have been warning there could be more damage with similar incidents given the area's building boom and intensifying conditions.

The crane is over a building under construction, according to Rick Seara with the City of Miami.

Hurricane Irma is presently a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 180 miles per hour and is moving west northwest at 17 miles per hour. There are about 20 to 25 construction cranes in the city, according to city officials.

The boom of the crane snapped off and is now still connected to the tower, but is hanging off the side of the building. The expanded evacuation area also includes Homestead, Coral Gables, South Miami, Miami Shores and North Miami Beach. "We will have a crew over to secure the crane as soon as the weather permits".

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Although Irma's eye was almost 100 miles from the Miami area, hurricane-force wind gusts battered the area on Sunday.

The collapse occurred Saturday morning at the under-construction building at 300 Biscayne Blvd.

Only a few contractors are certified to remove those cranes, and they would not have had enough time to move them out of harm's way even if they all were working at the same time in Miami to prepare for Irma, he said.

A tornado could have ripped the crane loose, Whiteman said.

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