One woman has died after a crane fell on two houses in east London, while a resident on the street said she and her family are lucky to have escaped with their lives.

The 20-metre crane collapsed on a site where flats were being constructed, and crashed on to two adjacent terrace houses in Compton Close, Bow, on Wednesday afternoon.

London Ambulance Service (LAS) said crews treated four people and confirmed one death.

A spokeswoman for LAS said: “We treated four people at the scene. We treated two of these patients for head injuries and took them to hospital and we assessed the other two patients at the scene.

“Sadly, despite the efforts of emergency services, a fifth person was found and died at the scene.”

A large part of the roof could be seen to be completely destroyed on one of the houses.

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London Fire Brigade (LFB) said the woman was found on the first floor of one of the houses hit by the crane and confirmed dead at the scene.

Emergency personnel at the scene Emergency personnel at the scene (Victoria Jones/PA)

A woman who lives next door to the houses affected by the falling crane said the collapse sounded “like an earthquake”.

She went on: “It is just lucky that one of my siblings was at work and the other one was downstairs.

“They would have been completely crushed. It is all just so upsetting.”

“I came out of the bathroom and if I had come out a second later, the attic door which is above could have fallen on me and that would have knocked me out.

“The way that everything fell – if my brother or sister had been in their rooms which is where it hit directly, I just cannot bear to think about it.

She added: “We are all just so lucky to be alive – that is all I can really say.”

The crane that collapsed was being used by Swan Housing Association and NU living, and appeared to be a Wolff crane.

A spokeswoman for Swan Housing Association and NU living said: “Swan Housing Association/NU living is deeply saddened by an incident that has occurred at our Watts Grove development site this afternoon.

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“We would like to thank the emergency services for their swift and dedicated response and those who are supporting residents who have had to leave their homes as a safety precaution.

“Our staff are on site to provide support to the emergency response and the investigation.”

Emergency personnel at the scene in Bow, east London The scene in Bow (Victoria Jones/PA)

A similar incident occured in Glasgow in 2012 when a crane collapsed, killing one worker and seriously injuring another. 

Five years later, Donald Craig, the 57-year-old manager of Hamilton-based Craig Services and Access Limited, was found guilty of contravening safety legislation and received the maximum custodial penalty after a 16-day trial in 2017.

Today, the Metropolitan Police sent officers to the scene after they were called at around 2.39pm on Wednesday to Gale Street to a report of a crane that had collapsed into a residential property and a building site.

Unite national officer Jerry Swain said there must be “an urgent, full and complete investigation into the circumstances that led to this accident”.

He added: “The preliminary findings of which must be released in weeks, rather than months or years, in order to ensure that similar accidents are avoided in the future.”