Ben Russell, NBC 5 News
Federal investigators are on the scene of a crane collapse in Richardson on the campus of The University of Texas at Dallas.
The University of Texas at Dallas confirmed two construction workers died in a crane collapse on its Richardson campus on Saturday.
Crews responded to the 800-block of West Campbell Road in Richardson at about 3 p.m.
Killed in the collapse were 50-year-old Terry Weaver, of Grand Saline, and 58-year-old Thomas Fairbrother Jr.
The crane came down just as a huge gust front came through. NBC 5 Meteorologist Grant Johnston said 50 mile per hour winds were blowing through the area at the time, although it is not yet known whether the wind caused the collapse.
Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the collapse. OSHA said it may take up to 6 months to complete their investigation.
The Arts and Technology Building is in the process of being built on campus. The construction site sits just feet from the McDermott Library at UTD. Inside the library at the time of the accident were students and staff, many of whom heard the collapse but thought it was severe weather.
“We heard a big boom, thought it was thunder and thought it was like nothing. No one got up and I did have my headphones on and I could still hear it over my headphones but didn’t think anything of it,” said Jennifer Evans, a UTD student who was studying in the library.
UTD Graduate student Erik Robison walked out of the library just after the crane collapsed.
“I came outside and noticed that the whole Richardson police squad was here. It took me a while to notice what was missing – it was the crane that was down,” said Robison.
Late Sunday, UTD sent out a statement that said it is cooperating fully with federal investigators.:
"OSHA was notified immediately, and their investigation staff arrived on-scene last night. Engineers have been engaged to assess the damaged crane and to develop a plan to safely remove it from the site. Both OSHA and independent investigators will review this plan and witness the safe removal of the crane and repair to the damaged facility. Work is not expected to resume until after the completion of the OSHA investigation and removal of the damaged crane."
The university also said its Office of Student Affairs will help the families of the two workers who died. Student organizations will meet Monday to consider ideas.
Also on Sunday, Hunt Construction Group issued the following statement:
"Unfortunately, an accident occured on the UT Dallas campus Saturday afternoon, which is currently under investigation. Hunt extends our deepest sympathies to the families of the workers who lost their lives. We will provide additional information when it becomes available."
NBC 5's Ben Russell contributed to this report.