Crane Operator Remembers July 20 Storms

Posted at 3:17 PM, Aug 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 15:17:42-04

LEXINGTON, Ky (LEX 18) – The storms from a few weeks ago left an indelible mark on some areas of Central Kentucky and it certainly made for a night that one crane operator won’t ever forget.

Ed Dangler has been a crane operator for 25 years. He’s worked all over the region and loves his job. He said he doesn’t fear the heights, but that didn’t stop the night of July 20 from being terrifying.

"There were a couple of times I didn’t know if I was going to make it," said Dangler. 

He made the most gut-wrenching phone call of his life.

"I called my wife and said, ‘if this thing goes down, I just wanted to talk to you and tell you ‘I love you before I hit the ground,’" Dangler said.

Dangler spoke to LEX 18 by phone, because it takes 20 to 30 minutes to get down and back up his crane at City Center downtown. That’s one of the reasons why he made the decision to remain up in the crane, riding out the July 20 storms that produced wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour.

"I told him to hang on!" Project Foreman Lonnie Eldridge said. "I wanted to stay in communication with Ed, just in case something happened."

The phone line between Eldridge and Dangler remained open for at least thirty minutes that night.

Dangler knew his crane would sway with the wind, so locking it down could’ve been disastrous. 

"That wind can take those over. Yes. Snap it over," said Dangler.

Dangler has been a crane operator since 1993 but said that July 20 was pretty bad, but not bad enough for him to miss work the next day.

He was back up in the crane by 5 a.m. the next day.