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At least 22 people were injured on Wednesday morning when two cranes collided on a construction site in the Mueller area near Dell Children's Hospital. The injuries were not life-threatening, Austin-Travis County emergency services officials said.
Eight ambulances responded to the collapse at 1600 Robert Browning St. at 9:38 a.m., according to updates posted to social media by EMS officials.
All injured people at the scene were employees of the site, officials said. Several people declined treatment at the scene. Responders transported 16 people for treatment, officials said.
One of the crane's operators was still on a crane two hours later, his foot on the brake as a "secondary safety" measure in case the mechanical lock on the crane—which is currently functioning—didn't work, Austin Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Bridges said to the press. He was not injured and is not in danger or in need of rescue, but it was not known how long he would be on the crane, Bridges said.
"If we thought he was in any kind of danger, we would attempt some kind of rescue," Bridges said. "He's not in any danger. Right now he's providing secondary safety."
Officials are urging people to avoid the area as construction company crane specialists arrive on the scene to inspect the cranes and figure out how to separate the cranes.
At an 11 a.m. press conference, EMS and fire officials said the cranes were stabilized at their bases but that wires from each crane are tangled together. Officials said they are still investigating whether the tangle caused the collision or whether the cranes hit and caused the wires to tangle.
A drone unit from the Austin Fire Department was deployed to inspect the tangle and help officials determine how best to separate them.
This story will be updated as more information is released.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that Texas will opt out of further federal unemployment benefits related to the pandemic effective June 26, citing the number of current job openings and concern about potentially fraudulent unemployment claims. The benefits include a $300 weekly supplement.
"The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring communities across the state," Abbott said in a statement. "According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment jobs."
TWC listed 837,273 job openings as of Monday afternoon compared to 226,849 unemployment insurance claims filed statewide between March 31 and May 1. An estimated 1 million Texans were unemployed as of March, according to latest estimates released by the state agency.
Some local business owners, including Doc's Backyard Grill owner Charles Milligan, suspect unemployment benefits are deterring Austinites from returning to work. But others agree with economists who say multiple factors are at play, including health concerns and child care availability.
We're seeing lots of posts about how nobody wants to work right now. Just wanted to share our experience.
We received over 60 resumes for a taproom bartender position we posted last week. Every applicant we've set up an interview with has shown up.
People want 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 work.
— Austin Beerworks (@AustinBeerworks) May 11, 2021
Abbott also cited fraudulent unemployment claims. Between March 2020 and April 2021, TWC received 4.48 million unemployment benefit applications, 611,000 or around 14% of which were tagged as suspicious. Most of those tagged were blocked before any benefits were paid out, according to an April 29 press release.
Federal law requires the effective date of such benefits change to be at least 30 days after the U.S. Department of Labor is notified.
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