B-148853, JUL. 18, 1962

B-148853: Jul 18, 1962

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TO MCDONOUGH-CLAUSSEN VENTURE: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 6. THE CHECK MAKING PAYMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SETTLEMENT WAS RETURNED AND THE AIR FORCE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE CENTER. IT WAS PROVIDED THAT THE MAINTENANCE SERVICES TO BE FURNISHED BY THE CONTRACTOR WOULD BE LIMITED TO MAJOR REPAIRS ONLY. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT DURING THE FIRST DAY OF THE OPERATION OF THE CRANE ONE OF THE POLES IT WAS RAISING BROKE. IN YOUR LETTER IT IS STATED AS FOLLOWS: "HE (YOUR SUPERINTENDENT ON THE JOB AT THE TIME) ADVISES THAT. THIS WHOLE CHARGE IS COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED. LOADING WAS DONE BY AIR FORCE PERSONNEL. HE FEELS THAT THE MISHAP WAS IN NO WAY THE FAULT OF OUR EQUIPMENT OR OF OUR OPERATOR.

B-148853, JUL. 18, 1962

TO MCDONOUGH-CLAUSSEN VENTURE:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 6, 1962, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF CLAIMS DIVISION SETTLEMENT DATED DECEMBER 22, 1961, WHICH ALLOWED $287, REPRESENTING 1 DAY'S RENTAL FOR A CRANE SUPPLIED UNDER PURCHASE ORDER NO. (66-600/-59-654 ISSUED AUGUST 28, 1958, BY RAMEY AIR FORCE BASE, PUERTO RICO, AND DISALLOWED THE SUM OF $1,377.73, REPRESENTING RENTAL FOR TWO ADDITIONAL DAYS AND FOR DAMAGES SUSTAINED BY THE CRANE. THE CHECK MAKING PAYMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SETTLEMENT WAS RETURNED AND THE AIR FORCE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE CENTER, DENVER, COLORADO, REPORTS THAT IT HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

PURCHASE ORDER NO. (66-600/-59-654 PROVIDED FOR RENTAL AND MAINTENANCE SERVICES OF ONE KOEHRING NO. 405 HEAVY DUTY CRANE WITH 60 FOOT BOOM WITH OPERATOR AND FUELS FOR THE PERIOD AUGUST 29 THROUGH 31, 1958. IT WAS PROVIDED THAT THE MAINTENANCE SERVICES TO BE FURNISHED BY THE CONTRACTOR WOULD BE LIMITED TO MAJOR REPAIRS ONLY, AND, FOR THE PURPOSE OF DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN MAJOR AND MINOR REPAIRS, ANY REPAIRS EXCEEDING $50 IN COST WOULD BE CONSIDERED MAJOR.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT DURING THE FIRST DAY OF THE OPERATION OF THE CRANE ONE OF THE POLES IT WAS RAISING BROKE, AND THE BOOM SNAPPED BACKWARD AND HIT THE CENTER OF THE CAB, CAUSING CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE TO THE CRANE.

IN YOUR LETTER IT IS STATED AS FOLLOWS:

"HE (YOUR SUPERINTENDENT ON THE JOB AT THE TIME) ADVISES THAT, IN HIS OPINION, THIS WHOLE CHARGE IS COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED. HE EXPLAINS THAT WE RENTED THE CRANE TO YOU WITH OPERATOR, BUT THAT THE RIGGING, SUPERVISION, LOADING WAS DONE BY AIR FORCE PERSONNEL. THIS AIR FORCE CREW HOOKED THE CABLE ON TO THE CENTER OF AN 80 FOOT POLE. IN RAISING THE POLE, THE WEIGHT PROVED TOO MUCH AND THE POLE SNAPPED, WHIPPING THE BOOM OVER THE CAB. HE FEELS THAT THE MISHAP WAS IN NO WAY THE FAULT OF OUR EQUIPMENT OR OF OUR OPERATOR, AND THAT THE WHOLE AMOUNT OF $1664.73 IS DUE AND PAYABLE.'

THE RECORD BEFORE THIS OFFICE CONTAINS STATEMENTS BY SEVERAL AIR FORCE PERSONNEL ON THE SITE. WHILE THEY VARY TO A DEGREE, APPARENTLY DEPENDING UPON WHAT THEY SAW, THEY ARE ALL TO THE EFFECT THAT THE DAMAGE TO THE CRANE WAS THE DIRECT RESULT OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THE CRANE WAS OPERATED BY YOUR OPERATOR. THREE OF THE STATEMENTS DESCRIBED THE ACCIDENT IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

1."* * * WE WERE RAISING A POLE AND HAD IT AT ABOUT 45 DEGREES WHEN THE OPERATOR JERKED THE BOOM. THE POLE BROKE AND THE TOP OF THE POLE FELL ABOUT 20 FT. FROM THE CRANE. THE OPERATOR GOT SCARED AND WOULD NOT HEED SIGNALS. THE CRANE OPERATOR SWUNG THE BOOM TO THE RIGHT. WHEN I SIGNALED FOR HIM TO SWING THE BOOM BACK STRAIGHT HE RELEASED THE BRAKES ON THE WINCH. THE POLE GOT TANGLED WITH CABLE ON BOOM AND PUSHED THE BOOM BACK OVER THE CRANE CAUSING THE BOOM TO COLLAPSE. * * *"

2. "* * * I WAS STANDING ABOUT 70 FEET FROM THE POLE, WHICH WE WERE RAISING, DIRECTLY OPPOSITE FROM THE CRANE, AND FACING IT. SGT.STEWART WAS ON THE SAME SIDE OF THE POLE ABOUT 40 FEET CLOSER, TO IT, IN SUCH A POSITION THAT HE COULD GIVE SIGNALS TO THE CRANE OPERATOR.

"AFTER THE POLE HAD BEEN RAISED ABOUT 40 FEET INTO THE AIR, THE TOP END, WHICH WAS ON MY RIGHT, SNAPPED OFF JUST ABOVE THE POINT WHERE THE WINCH LINE WAS ATTACHED. AT THIS POINT IT APPEARED THAT THE REMAINDER OF THE POLE COULD HAVE BEEN LOWERED TO THE GROUND IN ALMOST THE SAME SPOT IT HAD BEEN RAISED FROM, AND THAT IS WHAT SGT. STEWART SIGNALED THE CRANE OPERATOR TO DO. HOWEVER, THE CRANE OPERATOR, IGNORING SGT. STEWARTS SIGNALS, ROTATED THE CRANE IN A CLOCKWISE DIRECTION, THEREBY DRAWING THE POLE INTO THE BOOM. HE THEN LET THE WINCH LINE OUT CAUSING THE WEIGHT OF THE POLE TO PUSH THE BOOM BACK OVER THE CAB OF THE CRANE.'

3. "* * * THE CRANE OPERATOR INSTEAD OF MAKING A CLEAN SMOOTH MOVEMENT, BEGAN TO JERK THE POLE INTO POSITION THEREBY CAUSING THE POLE TO SNAP ABOUT 8 FT. ABOVE THE SPLICE. THE OPERATOR APPARENTLY PANICKED AND LEFT THE CAB LEAVING THE POLE HAVE A FREE RUN OF THE CRANE. THE BOOM OF THE CRANE THEN SNAPPED BACKWARDS AND HIT IN THE CENTER OF THE CAB CAUSING A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF DAMAGE TO THE CRANE. * * *"

ON THE BASIS OF FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD THE BREAKING OF THE POLE MAY HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY YOUR OPERATOR IN JERKING THE BOOM. FURTHERMORE, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT AFTER THE POLE BROKE THE REMAINDER OF THE POLE COULD HAVE BEEN LOWERED WITHOUT CAUSING DAMAGE TO THE CRANE. IN ANY EVENT, IT IS NOT ESTABLISHED THAT THE DAMAGE TO THE CRANE WAS CAUSED BY THE NEGLIGENCE OF GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES THERE IS NO BASIS UPON WHICH WE COULD AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF RENTAL FOR THE TWO DAYS WHEN THE CRANE WAS NOT USED, OR FOR THE DAMAGE TO THE CRANE.

THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE IS BEING INSTRUCTED TO ISSUE A NEW SETTLEMENT ALLOWING YOU THE SUM OF $287, REPRESENTING RENTAL FOR ONE DAY.