Pier 58, the structure supporting Waterfront Park between the Seattle Aquarium and the Great Wheel, partially collapsed Sunday afternoon as crews were demolishing portions of it, roughly a month after officials discovered that it had moved several inches away from the land.
Five workers were on the pier when the northeast corner, closest to the aquarium, began to collapse, said Marshall Foster, director of the city of Seattle’s Office of the Waterfront. A monitoring system triggered alarms and the workers evacuated, but not before two men, who were sawing concrete, fell into the water. Both were rescued quickly by on-site safety staff, Foster said.
The Seattle Fire Department transported the two injured workers to Harborview Medical Center in stable condition. No other injuries were reported.
Foster said initial inspections revealed no damage to the aquarium, Miner’s Landing to the south or the Seattle seawall.
Last month, officials decided to accelerate the removal of the pier, which was slated for removal in 2022 as part of the redesign of the Seattle waterfront. Work on its emergency removal began this weekend.
Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted that she was grateful to the first responders who arrived on scene and helped the injured workers.
“This year continues to present immense and unprecedented challenges for us as a city,” Durkan tweeted. “In the coming days, we will evaluate Pier 58 to determine appropriate next steps and potential broader impacts.”
Police had blocked off the sidewalk along the west side of Alaskan Way, between the Great Wheel and aquarium, as well as one lane of traffic.
The city’s Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects hired Orion Marine Contractors, a company based in Texas with an office in Tacoma, to perform the work, estimated to cost $4.3 million and last through early 2021.
Removing the pier requires pulling out the timber piles that support it, along with the park’s timber and concrete deck. Plans to rebuild the pier include a new lawn and trees, as well as features to improve salmon habitat.
The city has said that impacts of the removal to nearby businesses and the public are expected to be minimal because most of the removal work will be conducted by barge to the west of the structure.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.