First anniversary of Kelowna, B.C., crane collapse marked by memorial, investigations

The Canadian Press | July 12, 2022

KELOWNA, B.C. – RCMP in Kelowna, B.C., have released a statement marking the first anniversary of a deadly construction crane collapse in that city.

The statement says the detachment is “actively investigating” the July 12, 2021, collapse that killed five people, including four workers and a man who was in a nearby building.

RCMP say the “complex” and “technical” criminal investigation is being handled by a team within the detachment’s serious crimes unit.

The probe is separate from the regulatory investigation underway by WorkSafeBC, the provincial agency that promotes workplace health and safety.

It released a statement saying its examination of the collapse is aimed at identifying a cause, determining the sequence of events and looking at all available evidence.

The crane was being dismantled at a nearly completed condominium construction site in downtown Kelowna when it came down.

Insp. Beth McAndie, investigative services officer for Kelowna RCMP, says her team is working through a “significant amount of technical evidence” as it searches for any criminality related to the collapse.

“This is a complex investigation of what is being described as one of the largest workplace fatalities in B.C.’s history,” McAndie says in the statement.

Construction workers Cailen Vilness, Jared Zook, and brothers Patrick and Eric Stemmer died at the scene, and a fifth worker was injured.

Brad Zawislak was at work in a nearby office when part of the falling crane crushed the building, killing him.

The North Okanagan Labour Council planned to hold a memorial service for the victims on Tuesday, with a moment of silence to mark the time of the collapse, at roughly 10:45 a.m.