The cranes collided and got tangled several stories above a building under construction a few miles north of downtown in a rapidly growing neighborhood that includes residential, retail and office space. The development also includes a children's hospital near the accident site.
Austin-Travis County EMS spokesman Darren Noak said at a news conference that 22 workers were hurt, including 16 who were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. The cause of the accident was still under investigation.
Most of the injuries occurred when workers scrambled away from the accident scene, Noak said.
One of the crane operators was still inside the crane cabin about 150 feet above the ground more than an hour after the accident, though that crane didn't appear to be damaged. Authorities said the operator was safe and that rescuers would go get him if necessary, but that his presence was helping to stabilize the crane.
"He's fine," Fire Department Capt. Mark Bridge said. "There's no danger to him."
He said the cranes' bases were stable and that investigators didn't believe they were in danger of falling over.
Diane Stewart, who lives near the construction site, said she heard the collision while out for a walk.
“I heard a crash. It was like pipes falling,” Stewart said. “The police, first-responders were here in minutes.”