A crane working on a new campus for Google in central Seattle fell on Saturday, pinning cars beneath it and killing four people. Two crane operators and two people in separate cars were dead by the time firefighters got to the site, officials said. Four others were injured, including a mother and child and a 27-year-old man, according to Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. He said six cars were hit. “It was terrifying,” said Esther Nelson, a biotech research assistant who was working in a building nearby and saw the crane fall from a break-room window. “I looked up. The wind was blowing really strong,” she said. She saw boats struggling on Lake Union. Then the crane – maybe eight or nine floors high, she estimated – broke in half. “Half of it was flying down sideways on the building,” she said. “The other half fell down on the street, crossing both lanes of traffic.” The King County Medical Examiner’s Office said it would not release names of the dead until Monday. Seattle activated its emergency operations centre on Saturday afternoon to coordinate the response. Corina Berriel, 27, was driving west on Mercer when the crane started falling and hit a black Nissan right behind her. “The first thing I felt was a jolt from behind,” she said. “It almost felt like an earthquake.” She saw dust and debris falling from the sky. She thought she was about to die. When she looked in her rear-view mirror, she saw it was not an earthquake but the falling crane, which hit the black Nissan. The car’s back windows and boot were destroyed but the vehicle was able to move when the traffic sped up. A woman got out of the car and ran away, Berriel said. Berriel also saw a couple walking their dog flee the scene, the dog in their arms as they ran. She could see them shaking. Other witnesses described hearing a dramatic sound. Alan Van Rosendael said he heard a large crash “like thunder”. ‘My daughter has a bullet in her brain’: three children shot as US police fire at robbery suspect’s pickup truck in Ohio Jane Adler, who lives nearby, said she heard a loud crash: “I thought it was a fighter jet.” She said she saw several people being carried away from the scene, either dead or injured. The building under construction was badly damaged, with several of its windows punched out by the crane. The project is one of the city’s biggest – at one time having three cranes working on it. The four-building, 607,000-square-foot project will house a new Google Seattle campus, which includes about 150 new flats. Construction began in 2017 and is set to be finished later this year. Daren Konopaski, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302, which represents heavy equipment operators, said he understood the crane was being dismantled when heavy winds hit the area. One dead, three injured after gunman storms California synagogue, police say suspect is in custody “We don’t know, but that’s what seems to have happened here,” he said. “We are in the process of trying to get information.” He could not confirm that the crane operators were among the dead. Previously, a crane collapsed in the city’s Bellevue area in November 2006, damaging three neighbouring buildings and killing a Microsoft lawyer who was sitting in his living room. The state Department of Labour and Industries cited two companies for workplace-safety violations following an investigation that found a flawed design for the crane’s base.