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2nd Crane collapse in New York (in two months) kills at least 1

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Author Topic: 2nd Crane collapse in New York (in two months) kills at least 1  (Read 19 times)
Monique Faulkner
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« on: May 30, 2008, 10:56:16 am »

Crane collapse in New York kills at least 1

Story Highlights
NEW: Two also critically injured in Upper East Side crane disaster

An iReporter says crane collapse sounded like "prolonged car accident"

Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls accident "unacceptable and intolerable"

Crane collapse leaves wreckage at building at East 91st Street and First Avenue

Next Article in U.S. »

NEW YORK (CNN) -- At least one person was killed Friday and two others were critically injured when a construction crane collapsed in Upper Manhattan during the morning rush hour, city officials said.

Crane wreckage lies on Manhattan's Upper East Side on Friday in a photo by iReporter Michael Schuman.

1 of 3more photos »  Witnesses said the cab and the arm of the crane crashed more than 20 stories to the ground, smashing the penthouse on a building across the street and gouging chunks out of balconies all the way to the ground.

"It sounded like a large metal structure slowly falling on itself, sounded like a prolonged car accident," said iReport contributor Daniel Miranda, who lives a block away. "Construction workers were peering over the edge. Some of them were crying out in grief."

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said at least one person had died, and police and firefighters were on the scene searching the debris.

"It is an absolute tragedy," Stringer said.  See photos from the scene of the collapse »

Another two people were critically injured in the collapse, a city official briefed on the matter told CNN.

The accident happened shortly after 8 a.m. ET. Bridget Barrett, who lives two buildings away, said she was just leaving for work.

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"We heard a loud crash as I was walking down my stairwell. I went to the front door of the building, and it was all white smoke everywhere," she said.

"The crane had fallen in the middle of the street and was on fire. There was water spewing out of the apartment building all over the place. And I dialed 911."

The collapse left a pile of wreckage at the foot of The Azure, an apartment building under construction at the northwest corner of East 91st Street and First Avenue, a mainly residential area on the city's Upper East Side.  See where the crane fell »

The falling crane also damaged The Electra, a 20-plus-story building on the southwest corner.

Michael Schuman, another iReporter, said he heard a loud crash, grabbed his camera and went to scene, about five buildings away. "I got there before the emergency vehicles. It looked like the crane had broken into three or four large pieces. I saw water pouring out of one of the apartments," Schuman said.

Florence Diamond, a bus driver who was approaching the corner when the accident happened, said the crane's operator appeared to have been in the cab when the rig fell.  Watch as Diamond describes what she saw »

"I just saw all the crane come down in the middle of the street. It was like something out of a movie," Diamond said. "I couldn't believe the crane had fell, and I also saw the guy that was operating the crane go down with it. It was just one guy."

In March, another construction crane collapse in Manhattan left seven people dead. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was on a radio show at the time of Friday's accident, promised an investigation would be conducted and changes would be made if necessary.

"I don't need any developer or union leader or anybody else telling me about the consequences of slowing things down," Bloomberg said. "Nobody wants this economy to grow more than me. But we're not going to kill people."

Bloomberg called Friday's crane collapse "unacceptable and intolerable."

Barrett said she had worried about construction sites since the March crane disaster. "It's just kind of baffling that this happened again," she said.

"I've seen that crane for the past couple months, and of course I thought about, 'What if it fell on my building or buildings around me?' I just kind of dismissed it because [I thought] there's no way that could happen after it had already happened once," she said.

A construction worker at the site identifying himself only as "Anthony" said he didn't know what happened Friday, but he called it "a scary thing."

"Everything goes through your head when you start seeing things like that happen," the worker said. "You think about your family, your wife, your kids. Just, thank God, you know, whoever is alive is alive."
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