Pittsburgh has seen its fair share of near-disasters in recent years, from the Port Authority bus getting swallowed by a sinkhole downtown to the Delta plan sliding off the runway at Pittsburgh International Airport during a snowstorm earlier this month.
They were two unique and dangerous situations solved in large part by the same local company.
“When you synchronize and you’re picking up something that’s $50 million and it comes out without a scratch? That’s fun,” said Allegheny Crane Rental owner Kyrk Pyros, recalling how his team pulled the Delta plane to safety.
But getting to that point took a lot of quick planning and even quicker action.
“They’re taking two loaders to keep it from sliding off the hill. While I’m there, it’s actually moving and sliding. The ice is melting and it’s starting to creep its way down the hill,” he said. “We have a problem here, we have a problem here and this ravine is about 25 feet deep.”
Within minutes of being hired to rescue the plane Pyros was in what he calls the “War Room” with his crews drawing up a plan to pull it to safety.
Sixteen months earlier Allegheny Cranes were on 10th street in downtown Pittsburgh pulling a Port Authority bus from a massive sinkhole.
That required even more coordination.
“When I got there, it was a lot worse than I thought,” he said. “You see the bus holding there, but it had been undermined a fairly decent amount. The entire eastern seaboard communications were resting underneath it.”
It’s a delicate balance with some of the heaviest machinery you’ll find - where inches matter.
“Failure’s not an option, we’ll figure it out. Give us a little time and we’ll get it right,” he said.
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