Inspectors To Look At Everything, Including Operator, Winds, To Find Cause

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The crash of a giant crane at a new construction site in Long Island City sent a handful of people to area hospitals on Wednesday.

The incident took place near 46th Avenue and Center Boulevard, right behind the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign, at around 2:15 p.m.

“When we arrived, we found three workers trapped underneath the crane within the structure,” said FDNY Deputy Chief Mark Ferran.

The neck of the 380-foot mobile crane crashed through the top of the wooden first floor of the construction site, officials said.

“The lattice portion of the [crane] broke, and it fell on the form work for the second floor of the high rise,” said a man who lives next to the site.

The boom of the crane was left bent. The metal went up several feet above the cab, only to fold over across the site, where a 25-story apartment complex is under construction, 1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr reported.

“It snapped, and it went backwards and you heard all the cables popping and it just came down flat,” Russell Robinson told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

Others were left shaken, including Marco McFarlane, whose partner was last seen trapped under twisted metal.

“All he could say to me when I got to him is ‘I couldn’t move fast enough,'” McFarlane said.

“The crane moved pretty quickly, then there was a large crash, and pandemonium going on,” a witness named “Glen” told CBS 2’s Dana Tyler.

All the workers were accounted for. Three of the seven injuries were serious, four were considered minor, according to Emergency Medical Service workers.

A close-up look at the crane collapse in Long Island City on Jan. 9, 2013. (credit: CBS 2)

A close-up look at the crane collapse in Long Island City on Jan. 9, 2013. (credit: CBS 2)

Developer TF Cornerstone issued the following statement Wednesday: “Earlier today there was an incident involving a crane at our development site at 4610 Center Boulevard in Long Island City. Site safety is always our first priority as it relates to construction, and we are cooperating fully with all relevant authorities to try and determine what caused this occurrence. The work underway at the site was being carried out by subcontractor Cross Country Construction. The crane itself was leased to Cross Country Construction by New York Crane.”

New York Crane is the same company that was involved in the deadly Manhattan crane collapse in March 2008 on East 51st Street.

Through the overnight hours and into Thursday morning, police were expected to keep the Long Island City construction site guarded and secure for inspectors looking at everything from operator error, the crane company’s safety record, even the winds.

“Buildings Department engineers are here. They are gonna be inspecting, looking at the crane, trying to determine a cause, we don’t know that yet,” FDNY Chief Ferran said.

The site is part of a development known as the “East Coast,” which is located immediately behind the Pepsi-Cola sign along the East River, CBS 2’s Dennis reported.

The development will include several additional new buildings.

The last building is to be completed in early 2014, CBS 2’s Tyler reported, clustering the area with some 2,800 new units.

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