ZAGREB, April 17 (Hina) – A part of the Zagreb Cathedral’s north tower, 13.5 metres tall and weighing 30 tonnes, was removed on Friday because, after being damaged in a 5.5-magnitude earthquake on March 22, it risked collapsing and causing even greater damage to the cathedral and around it.
The part was removed following a controlled explosion at 17:58 hours. After the detonation, smoke appeared as part of the tarp which covered the top of the tower caught fire. The removal began several minutes later after drones made sure the explosion had made a regular cut so that the part of the tower could be lowered in one piece.
The part was removed by a 500-tonne crane as another one enveloped the whole tower and lowered it. Before that, in a second attempt, mountain climbers tethered the top of the tower to the crane.
The chief designer of the cathedral’s reconstruction, Dalibor Foretic, said the lowering would take 20 minutes until the removed part of the tower was vertically secured on the ground, for which a bed was made.
Monsignor Ivan Hren announced on April 1 that the top of the damaged north tower would be removed to prevent it from collapsing.
He said church officials, after seeing footage of the damage, they brought in structural engineers and said that “far less damage would be caused if the part of the north tower was removed than if it fell.”
Video below (explosion starts at 2:12:45 mark).