Photo by Peter Reina for ENR
A collapsed tower crane atop London's Cabinet Office is dismantled after a heavy storm on the Christian feast day of St. Jude struck Europe on Oct. 28. A second crane also was damaged in the storm.

A crane manufacturer is looking for clues to explain what caused two of its tower cranes to sustain major damage during a deadly storm that blew through London in late October and caused travel delays, flooding and damage throughout western Europe.

A tower crane collapsed, causing no reported injuries, onto the roof of the U.K. government's Cabinet Office in London during the brief, so-called St. Jude's Day Storm on Oct. 28. A second, similar crane also was damaged by the storm a few miles south, according to the German manufacturer.

"We're still investigating the matter," says a spokesman for Jost Cranes GmbH. & Co. KG., Grasbrunn, which supplied the Cabinet Office with a JTL158 luffing crane to the project's rental supplier, City Lifting Ltd., Purfleet.

The Jost spokesman believes a second, similar crane also lost its jib in south London. The cranes are "completely state of the art," he says. Jost has supplied more than 100 units to the U.K. over the past eight years, the spokesman adds.

The crane at the Cabinet Office was due for removal a day before the storm struck, says Bob Jones, a director of City Lifting. However, the build up of wind prevented the dismantling operation, he adds. City Lifting was due to complete the crane's removal on Oct. 29.

The crane collapse damaged the roof and balustrade of the mid-19th-century Cabinet Office building, which is next to Downing Street, the prime minister's residence. The building's staff members were back at work in unaffected areas the day after the incident, says a government spokesman.

Winds generally gusted at around 70 miles per hour as they hit southern England in the early morning of Oct. 28. Gusting was most severe along the south coast, peaking at 99 miles per hour on the Isle of Wight, says a spokeswoman for the U.K. Meteorological Office.