The Harland & Wolf cranes, Known as Samson and Goliath are the two yellow gantry cranes, situated at Queen’s Island, that dominate the Belfast Skyline and are trademark sructures of the city.
Goliath, the smaller of the two stands at 96 metres (315 ft) tall and was completed in 1969 , while Samson , the taller of the two, stands at 106 metres (348 ft) tall and was completed in 1974. Each crane has a span of 140 metres (459 ft) and can lift loads of up to 840 tonnes to a height of 70 metres (230 ft), making a combined lifting capacity of over 1,600 tonnes, one of the largest in the world.
The announcement that the cranes were to be built was very important at the time. It signalled that one of Northern Ireland’s largest employers was to expand at a time when the country’s Troubles were at there worst.
On 4 April 2007, Samson crashed into the long jib of smaller rail-mounted “Henson” tower crane sending the smaller crane tumbling to the ground. The smaller crane weighed 95 tonnes and stood at a height of 25 m, compared to Samson’s 70 m. Three industrial painters working on another rail-mounted crane were close to the jib as it fell, eventually crashing onto the ground.Information about the incident was not released until mobile-phone footage of the event was published on Youtube