UK & World News
Injuries Reported In New York Crane Collapse
A 200-foot crane has collapsed onto a building under construction near the New York City waterfront, injuring seven people, three of whom needed to be extricated from underneath the fallen machinery.
The red crane toppled around 2.30pm, sprawling across the metal scaffolding and wood planking that made up the first floor skeleton of a residential building in the city's borough of Queens behind a big neon Pepsi Cola sign, a local landmark.
Workers putting up the second floor framework scrambled to get out of the way.
"Once that snap came, that was it," said Russell Roberson, 32, of Brooklyn. "I just heard guys yelling, 'Run, run!'"
The people who had to be extricated from underneath the crane suffered a range of injuries, broken bones being the most severe, Deputy Fire Chief Mark Ferran said. He said emergency services personnel did not need heavy machinery to get them out.
None of the injuries was life-threatening.
Preston White, 48, a carpenter from the Bronx, was working his first day at the site in the Long Island City neighbourhood. He had turned to speak to a friend when he heard a popping sound and turned back around.
At that moment, "I saw the cable whipping toward the deck. ... You could just hear it buckling," Mr White said.
The crane cut down the framework of the building "like a hot knife in butter," he said, because there was no concrete on it yet.
Mr Roberson said the crane had been up since the weekend - and went down really fast.
Tony Sclafani, a spokesman for the city's Department of Buildings, said their engineers were investigating the cause of the collapse.
He said the crash happened at the site of a project for a 25-story apartment building under contract by TF Cornerstone, a residential and commercial real estate developer and property management company.
The company said it was working with authorities to help determine what caused the crash.
Construction cranes have been a source of safety worries in the city since two giant rigs collapsed within two months of each other in Manhattan in 2008, killing a total of nine people.
Those accidents spurred the resignation of the city's buildings commissioner and fuelled new safety measures, including hiring more inspectors and expanding training requirements and inspection checklists.
Another crane fell and killed a worker in April at a construction site for a new subway line. That rig was exempt from most city construction safety rules because it was working for a state-overseen agency that runs the subway system.
During Superstorm Sandy in late October, a construction crane atop a $1.5bn luxury high-rise in midtown Manhattan collapsed in high winds and dangled precariously for several days until it could be tethered.