(Courtesy of BBC Radio Stoke)

Falcon issued a statement saying, “Rhys Barker and David Newall were highly regarded and popular members of our staff. Their deaths were untimely and deeply regretted by all their friends and colleagues who wish to express their deepest and sincere condolences to their family and friends. Our thoughts go out to their families whose welfare is uppermost at this difficult time.

“We also share our deepest concern for those who were injured and we wish David Webb a speedy and complete recovery.  We consider health and safety to be of paramount importance and we have taken every step to ensure that all procedures are conducted as safely and efficiently as possible.

“We will leave no stone unturned to establish what went wrong and we will co-operate fully with all authorities to understand fully the causes of this tragic accident and to learn all safety lessons to be sure that safety remains of paramount importance.”

The crane was working on the site of a two-storey care home being built by construction company Seddon. Seddon confirmed shortly after the accident that the crane was being erected.

One eyewitness, speaking to BBC local radio in Stoke and identified only as Jason, said the crane had been lifting and then, “they finished the work, the crane positioned itself facing Bombardier [a nearby train factory].

"The guys finished their work and they were still up there when all of a sudden, it slowly just started to tilt, tilt, tilt.

"Guys started shouting and it completely fell on the floor."

Photos from the scene supplied to Cranes Today by BBC Stoke Radio show the tower crane laying over a mobile crane from John Sutch.  

Photos in the Twitter feed of  ITV journalist Ashley Derricott appear to show the concrete foundations on which the crane was standing, with no immediately obvious damage to these.

The BBC photos show apparent damage to the stowed lattice jib on the John Sutch crane, perhaps indicating it was hit by the tower crane, before coming to rest on the back of the superstructure. Derricott’s photos show the tower crane’s jib extending out of the construction site, into a nearby home.

An incident report released by Cheshire Fire and Rescue service said, “Fire crews released one casualty, a man believed to be the crane driver, and he was taken to hospital via air ambulance.”

The incident report added: “The crane which collapsed had trapped two other people underneath. Cheshire firefighters worked alongside colleagues from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team to release two people trapped after the crane collapsed.

“Sadly two men have died as a result of the incident. Another man was taken to the Royal Stoke Hospital with serious injuries but these are believed to not be life threatening.” 

John Sutch MD designate Hayley Sutch said, “John Sutch Cranes were involved in an incident yesterday evening, on site in Crewe. An independent tower crane collapsed onto our crane, the cause of the collapse is still unknown. Our deepest thoughts and sympathy go out to the families at this tragic time. Please be assured that we are assisting the HSE and other authorities with their investigations.”

Jonathan Seddon, chief executive of Seddon, said, “There was an incident yesterday at our construction site on Dunwoody Way, in Crewe. I'm deeply saddened to say that following the incident involving the erection of a crane two people working on site have lost their lives, while a third remains injured in hospital. The crane also struck an adjacent house, the occupants were taken to hospital and have since been discharged.

“On behalf of everyone at Seddon I'd like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of those who so tragically lost their lives yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody involved, and words cannot express how we feel.

“At this time I cannot speculate as to the cause of this incident, but needless to say there will be a full investigation and Seddon is working closely with the emergency services and Health and Safety Executive.”