QUINCY, Mass. (AP) – An iron worker was killed Thursday when the leg of a giant crane that was being dismantled collapsed prematurely at the Fore River Shipyard, authorities said.

For several weeks, workers have been taking down the Goliath crane – which once stood 25 stories tall – in preparation for shipment to Romania.

Fire Chief Joseph Barron said at an afternoon news conference that workers removed pieces of the crane to cause the support leg to fall, but it dropped before they were prepared.

“It did collapse in the manner it was designed to collapse. It just did not collapse when it was supposed to, obviously,” Barron said.

He said the collapse did not affect the structural stability of the rest of the crane.

Norfolk District Attorney William Keating identified the man killed as Robert Harvey, 28, of Weymouth.

Keating said the investigation has been turned over to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Authorities said four other workers suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Two were treated at the scene and two at a hospital.

The president and co-owner of the company supervising the demolition told The Patriot Ledger of Quincy the collapse happened “without warning.”

“Everything was progressing normally, and then suddenly, without warning, a connection of one leg to the body seemed to fail,” said Greg Nordholm, of Seattle-based Norsar. “None of the lifting mechanism was affected. The structure is safe, secure and stable.”

The worker who was killed was a Quincy native.

“He was just a great son. We’re devastated,” his father, Robert Harvery, told the Boston Herald.

General Dynamics Corp. constructed the Goliath crane in the 1970s and used it to lift huge pieces of ships and tankers at the Fore River Shipyard, which once employed 32,000 people.

The crane has been a fixture in the skies over Quincy for decades, but it’s been idle since the shipyard closed in 1986.

Daewoo-Mangalia Heavy Industries, a Romanian shipbuilding and repair company, purchased the crane for an undisclosed sum and planned to put it back to use.

AP-ES-08-14-08 1840EDT

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