Crane collapses in New York City, two dead

A large crane collapsed, killing two people and damaging an apartment building.

Crane collapses in New York City, two dead

A large crane collapsed in New York City on Friday, killing two people and damaging an apartment building on Manhattan's Upper East Side -- a day after city officials investigated the crane's operations.

The crane operator and another construction worker died in the collapse shortly after 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT), a third worker was seriously injured and a pedestrian received minor injuries, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police said.

Bloomberg said the top section of the crane broke off and smashed into an apartment building called The Electra, which is more than 20 floors high, on 91st Street and First Avenue.

"We don't know why it snapped off and we will certainly do an investigation," he said.

The crane was being used to build a 32-story apartment building across the street. Bloomberg said seven buildings had been evacuated while the stability of the crane section still standing was checked.

Television footage showed part of the crane in a crumpled mess in the street and a corner apartment at the top of The Electra that had been demolished. Balconies had also been ripped from apartments on The Electra as the crane fell.

New York City's Department of Buildings visited the site on Thursday after receiving a complaint about the crane hoisting over the street, which is a building code violation, said acting Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri.

"Yesterday's investigation was about an inspection about hoisting over the street, not about the crane and the way it was installed," LiMandri said.

"UNACCEPTABLE"

The crane, owned by New York Crane Corp, was being used by DeMatteis Organizations to build the Azure apartment building, LiMandri said. The company is also building the U.S. mission to the United Nations across the road from the U.N. headquarters.

In March, a giant crane fell and crushed a residential building in midtown Manhattan, killing seven people and injuring more than 10 others. In October, a crane dropped a container of debris from the 53rd floor of a skyscraper near Times Square, injuring several people.

The accidents could further dampen the multibillion-dollar Manhattan real estate industry, which already is suffering a downturn from the credit crisis.

"We're certainly on the downside of a cycle, and this is certainly going to have a negative impact," said attorney Jeffrey Reich, a partner at Wolf Haldenstein, which represents New York developers.

New building regulations added as a result of the latest crane accident could increase the time it takes to build, he said. Following the March accident all tower cranes were inspected and the buildings department said an inspector had to be on-site whenever a tower crane was raised or lowered.

After Friday's accident the District of Columbia said it would do emergency inspections of about 40 cranes in its area.

Bloomberg told local radio on Friday that public safety was top priority and that the city would not "tolerate any rate of accidents higher than it has to be."

"This is just unacceptable," he said. "The public walking by shouldn't be at risk."

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Haziran 2008, 11:37
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