The un-named operator spent a short time in cold 10°C (50°F) water before being rescued. According to a report in the San Francisco Examiner, his 55t crane had been at work when the mast snapped and the crane toppled slowly into the dock.

After the accident, a US Coastguard crew worked with the shipyard’s own specialist cleaning crew to contain and remove a sheen of oil from the crane. Petty Officer Erik Swanson said there was about 190l (50 gallons) of oil in the crane when the accident occured.

BAE Systems Shipyard general manager Ira Maybaum told the paper the operator was able to return to work the same day, but left early, as he was ‘a little shook up’ by the experience.

The US health and safety body, OSHA, is investigating the accident.