The crane was working on an elevated section of the new Canada Line automated rapid transit system, connecting downtown Vancouver to Richmond and Vancouver Airport, around 19km (12mi) away. A two foot high concrete barrier prevented the crane being run over the edge of the elevated section. Witnesses quoted in local reports describe it toppling over while lifting a load from the main deck onto a walkway below.

The 22-year-old operator was an apprentice ironworker and certified crane operator. To hold the apprentice position, he would have needed to have complete more than 4,000 hours onsite, and have attended 300 hours of classes.

Unlike pick and carry cranes, carrydecks need to fully deploy their outriggers when lifting, and then carry the load on a special deck (not on the hook), with the outriggers retracted. It is possible to use them for lifting without deploying the outriggers—there’s no locking mechanism to prevent this—but there are no indications that this happened in this case.

The accident, the first fatality on the project, is being investigated by local agencies including the police, fire and rescue, and WorkSafeBC.