Video captures fatal crane collapse in Manhattan
A man was killed and three other people injured – two seriously — when a massive construction crane collapsed in Lower Manhattan on Friday morning while it was being lowered as a precaution due to the wind, officials said.
The 38-year-old man who was killed had been sitting in a parked car when the crane crashed down on him, Mayor de Blasio said in a press conference.
The crane manufacturer set a maximum wind speed of 25 mph for its operation, but with winds hitting about 20 mph Friday morning, a decision was made to secure the giant machine, the mayor said.
The crane – about two blocks in length – struck several buildings on Worth Street on the way down, including the New York Law School.
De Blasio said there were few casualties because crews had been directing people away from the area while the crane was being moved.
“This is a very sad event. Thank God it wasn’t worse,” he said.
The crane was a crawler — which moves on tracks and has a maximum load capacity of 330 tons — and was one of 376 such cranes in the city. As a precaution, all have been ordered secured, de Blasio said.
All 43 tower cranes in the city also have been ordered secured immediately.
The two seriously injured people were rushed to Bellevue Hospital. The one with lesser injuries was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital. All three were struck by falling debris,
The crane fell over at 60 Hudson St. – the former Western Union building between West Broadway and Church Street in Tribeca — at 8:24 a.m., crushing several cars parked on the street, according to witnesses and fire officials.
It is unclear why the crane collapsed. Authorities were interviewing the operator. The crane had been set up at the site on Jan. 30 to replace equipment on the roof.
At 6:20 a.m. Thursday, officials from the Buildings Department were on the site to approve an extension to the crane’s boom – to reach its maximum length of 565 feet.
The courthouse at 71 Thomas St., around the corner from site of the collapse, was evacuated because of gas odors, a Manhattan Supreme Court official said.
Con Ed turned off gas in the area. The FDNY and Con Ed were scanning the area for gas leaks every 15 minutes. Only the people in the buildings affected by the collapse were evacuated.
Paul Capotosto, treasurer of the NYPD’s Sergeants Benevolent Association, said he and two other board officers rushed outside their nearby office when they heard the thunderous collapse.
“When it came down, it felt like an earthquake. Our building rattled … shook,” he told The Post. “We started checking the cars to make sure nobody’s in them.
We got to one of the cars, saw a man sitting in the driver’s seat, still conscious. He said he was OK.”
Capotosto, Bob Ganley and Vincent Vallelong found another injured man in the street who appeared to be unconscious and a woman who was leaning against the building – blood trickling from her forehead.
“We rendered some aid to her. It was a little bit of chaos in the street,” Capotosto said. “(The crane) came down and it crushed every car on the block. Thankfully there was only one person inside one of the cars.”
All three of the PBA’s cars were destroyed.
“As bad as it is, we lost a life out there, but it could have been worse. Because of the weather, there were not a lot of people out there,” he added.
The crane was marked with a logo for Bay Crane, the company involved in a collapse in Midtown last year that injured 10 people. The company’s crane had been hoisting an air conditioner.
A person who answered the phone at Bay Crane declined comment, saying the company was still collecting information.
The 75-year-old Long Island City-based company describes itself on its Web site as “New York’s leader in crane rental and specialized transportation solutions.”
Surrounding streets have been closed. The No. 1 subway trains are bypassing the Franklin Street and Chambers Street stations.
Responders were concerned about a potential gas leak and that the crane might be electrified, sources said.
The incident is the latest in a string of incidents involving cranes in New York City.
In April 2015, a construction-company boss was crushed to death when a malfunctioning crane collapsed on him at a Manhattan work site.
Trevor Loftus, 40, was checking out his boom truck’s leaky hydraulic system just as a hose burst, causing the crane’s arm to collapse and pin him against the vehicle’s flatbed at 219 E. 44th St..
In 2008, a crane owned by self-described “King of Cranes” James Lomma fell onto a work site on East 91st Street, killing operator Donald Leo and worker Ramadan Kurtaj.
In July 2015, a Manhattan jury delivered a $48 million verdict against Lomma.
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