Two workers were hurt when a load of steel being lifted by a crane reportedly slipped and struck them about 8:25 this morning at a construction site on Emerson Street in Evanston. One of the victims later died at Evanston Hospital.

Police spokesman Perry Polinski says the man who died was from Compton, Illinois, and was about 55 years old. He’d been taken to the hospital in critical condition.

The other worker, a 28-year-old man from Woodridge, Illinois, was pinned under the fallen metal. Firefighters extricated him and transported him to Evanston Hospital in serious but stable condition. He was undergoing surgery early this afternoon.

The accident happened at 811 Emerson where a high-rise apartment building is under construction. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigator is on the scene.

Polinski says it appears the workers were moving a steel beam from a truck with a crane when the cable or pulley slipped or the load shifted and came down on them.

A Fire Department spokesman says when the rigging on the crane failed it dropped the steel from a height of about 30 feet.

A firefighter climbs the crane tower to help the crane operator back down. (EFD photo)

The Fire Department’s technical rescue special operations team was called out to help the operator of the crane down from a height of about 130 feet.

Emerson between Maple and Sherman Avenues is expected to remain blocked to traffic until somtime tomorrow while the investigation into the cause of the accident continues.

(Story last updated at 4 p.m.)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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