Deadly New York City Crane Collapse - 4 Dead as Crane Falls





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Uploaded on Mar 15, 2008

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March 15, 2008 NEW YORK — A crane mounted to the side of a skyscraper under construction toppled with a roar Saturday, smashing into a block of apartment buildings, killing at least two people and setting off a scramble for survivors in the rubble. The collapsing crane demolished parts of several buildings on Manhattan's East Side, appeared to have pulverized one small, brick apartment building, and sent up a huge dust cloud over the neighborhood.
Fire Department officials said at least two people were dead and several others were taken to hospitals. An intensive, but delicate rescue operation was under way to free anyone still trapped in the rubble. Firefighters searched piles of rubble, several stories high, looking for victims, according to television reports. John PlaGreco, who owns Fu Bar in the crushed building, said he feared one of his employees was dead in the rubble. "Our bar is done," he said. "The crane crashed the whole building. If I wasn't watching a Yankees game, I would've come to work early and gotten killed."

About 19 of the 44 stories of the high-rise condominium had been erected, and the crane was scheduled to be extended Saturday so workers could start work on a fresh story, said an owner of the company that manages the construction site. A piece of steel fell and sheared off one of the ties holding it to the building, causing it to detach and topple, said Stephen Kaplan, an owner of the Reliance Construction Group.

"It was an absolute freak accident," Kaplan said. "All the piece of steel had to do was fall slightly left or right, and nothing would have happened."

Kaplan said the company had subcontracted the work to different companies and was not in charge of the crane. He wasn't sure if any workers at the site were among those killed. Neighborhood residents said they had complained to the city several times about the construction at the site, saying crews worked illegal hours and the building was going up too fast.
Nearby residents reported hearing a terrible roar as the structure detached from the condominium. "First I heard a rumble, and it increased, and then it increased," said Bill Reilly, who lives a block away. "It continued building in strength until there was a final vroom! It shook the six-story brick building that I live in."

The crane split into pieces as it fell. Part of it came to rest against an apartment tower, smashing into its upper floors. That building and others in the area were evacuated. Another piece hit other buildings on the block, ripping away walls and ceilings and crushing the small brick building.
Witnesses reported a strong smell of gas in the area on 51st Street near 2nd Avenue. Gas utility Consolidated Edison said it shut off service to area buildings. Ben Galati, 54, said he was in the basement of a high-rise apartment building across the street where he is a doorman.

"I heard a rumble outside. I said 'Let's get out of here!' And then the crane came down. A split second later, I heard an explosion," he said.
Maureen Shey, who lives diagonal from the building where the crane collapsed, said she was on the phone laying on her bed when she saw the giant white crane heading straight for her windows.

"I heard a big crash, and I saw dust immediately. Bricks were flying through the air. I saw the whole thing. I thought the crane was coming in my window," she said. The crane ended up missing her building.

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