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Strong Winds May Have Caused UTD Crane Collapse

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Andrea Lucia
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RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) - Strong winds may be to be blame for a crane collapse that killed two construction workers at the University of Texas Dallas campus in Richardson.

“Powerful, it was blowing flower pots over,” said Merry Moore, who was standing outside when the 50 mph gusts blew in.

Construction workers at the UT Dallas campus were dismantling a crane at the site of the new Arts and Technology building, when the wind picked up.

“All of a sudden we just heard some screaming, and a few seconds after the screaming we heard a loud, just metal hitting the ground, falling to the ground,” said Arnand Gayapershae, a university graduate who was studying in the library.

With force strong enough to twist metal, the crane collapsed onto a rooftop, and students say they once again heard screaming.

“The first set of screams were just fearful, completely frightened. The second set of screams was like please, come help us, we’re in a lot of pain,” he said.

Gayapershae said, he ran to a help desk, just as a student called for someone to dial 911.

“They were studying upstairs on the fourth floor and they saw  some scaffolding tip over with some people on it,” he said.

The university confirms, no students, staff, or faculty were injured, but plenty admit feeling shaken.

“I’m really sad – that something like that could happen, and we were around here,” said student Emily Hokanson.

A $60 million dollar project, the Arts and Technology building, is set to open fall of 2013.

The Hunt Construction Group, working on the project, declined to interview.

A worker, speaking anonymously, though, said the strong winds were almost certainly to blame.

OSHA is expected to investigate.

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