A 380-foot red crane collapsed on January 8, 2013 at a construction site on Center Boulevard in Long Island City, Queens. Seven workers at the site were injured and had to be taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. According to Deputy Fire Chief Mark Ferran, three of the seven workers were trapped under the crane before they were rescued by emergency personnel. However, Ferran pointed out that there were no serious injuries at the site, which had approximately 70 workers at the time of the accident.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the collapse. However, the crane is a Manitowoc 4100W tractor crane and was built in 1992. It is nearly the same make and model of the type of crane that killed a worker last April at an MTA subway construction site. In that accident, Federal investigators said that the crane’s hoist wire snapped because it was badly worn out.
The work at the Long Island City site was being performed by subcontractor Cross Country Construction, which leased the crane from New York Crane, one of the largest crane operators in the city. In 2008, New York Crane’s owner, James Lomma, was acquitted of criminally negligent homicide when one of his cranes collapsed on the upper East Side and killed two workers.
An employee of New York Crane declined to comment on the accident and said, “We’re very busy right now.”
The collapse took place on property being developed by TF Cornerstone. The site is located at 46th Avenue and Center Boulevard and in front of the famous Pepsi sign. A luxury high rise for Queens West is being built on the site. When the crane collapsed, it had been erected for four days, and it crashed into scaffolding and plywood. Workers were loading the crane with wooden planks, and the crane was at ground level when the collapse occurred.
Preston White, 48, a carpenter at the accident site, said, “I was this close to death. Everybody was scrambling.”
Laborer Russell Roberton, 32, said, “You didn’t know which way the thing was going to go.” Other workers at the site reported that they heard cables snap and then watched the 380-foot crane come tumbling to the ground. Roberton said, “We were searching to see who was around. We were calling out names. If you didn’t hear the guy’s name, you searched for them–it was terrifying.”
Seven construction workers hurt after crane collapses onto Long Island City, Queens work site, New York Daily News, January 9, 2013