Barge Operator Drops Telescopic Handler in Icy Water


Here’s a useful tip. If you’re going to be loading heavy things onto a barge, you better make sure it can handle the weight. If only someone was around to tell these guys that, they could have avoided this costly construction accident. The elements in play here are a barge, a Manitou telescopic handler, and a Volvo wheel loader. The wheel loader is basically anchoring and steadying the barge by way of a rope before it heads out on its journey. But the barge with telescopic handler in tow doesn’t make it very far before that journey is over.

Barge Operator Drops Telescopic Handler in Icy Water

The Volvo Wheel Loader Acting as Anchor

It’s actually quite a beautiful scene here. The water is crystal clear and you see some nice scenery with a small village on a hill. But you’re not here just to watch the scenery. You want to see a fail! So let’s start with the loader. It’s on the sea bank with a rope attached to the back right side of the barge to keep it anchored. The front loader is able to handle this task with ease, as it has plenty of weight along with differential locks and heavy-duty tires with good traction. This Volvo wheel loader is likely an L30G, which has the following specs:

  • Operating weight of 12,125 pounds
  • 71-horsepower engine with 195 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Top speed of 19 mph
  • 9 Feet tall and 14 feet, 8 inches long (without bucket attached)

Is the Barge Big Enough?

Everything seems to be fine while the rope is attached to the barge. It looks to be stable and secure. The rope is then removed from the wheel loader and its job is done. But, as the tug boat pulls the barge away, it begins to tilt a bit to one side. At this point, you might be questioning if the barge is capable of handling this weight. Maybe it will straighten out, but it is a precarious situation for sure. We don’t know the weight capacity of the barge, but we do know that the telescopic handler is a good 30,000-40,000 pounds. By barge standards, this one is very small, as a typical barge used for heavy transport can handle about 1500 tons of cargo and measures about 195 by 35 feet. Maybe the barge can handle that weight, but another factor to consider is whether the load is balanced enough on both sides to prevent tipping.


The Manitou Telescopic Handler: A Big Machine that Isn’t Cheap

This piece of machinery that looks to be too much for the barge to handle is a Manitou telescopic handler. Also known as a telehandler, this machine is a combination of crane and forklift and is typically used to move loads that a forklift can’t reach. In the place of pallet forks, it can also be fitted with a bucket, winch, crane jib, or muck grab. There are rotating and non-rotating telehandlers, but this one is the former. We don’t see what model it is, but an educated guess would be that it’s an MR 2150, which has these dimensions:

Keep Reading