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Official: LIC Crane Collapse Possibly Triggered By Overweight Load

Crane Operator's License Has Been Suspended
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)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The crane that collapsed across a building in Long Island City, Queens on Wednesday afternoon was attempting to lift more than twice as much weight as was approved, according to a preliminary investigation from the city’s Buildings Department.

The crane was also operating outside of the approved loading zone, according to the preliminary investigation.

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

New York City Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri released the following statement Thursday evening: “Following the crane collapse at 46-10 Center Boulevard in Queens yesterday, the Department is suspending the Hoist Machine Operator Class-B license of Paul Geer, the crane operator who was operating the mobile crane at the time of the incident. As a result of our preliminary investigation, it appears that the operator was attempting to lift a load of 23,900 pounds – more than double the weight capacity for this particular crane. The preliminary investigation also shows that the operator was unable to see the materials being lifted and was attempting to lift those materials outside of the approved loading zone. A Stop Work Order for crane operations remains in effect while our investigation continues.”

Work remains suspended at the site of the 380-foot crane collapse that left seven workers injured.

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. Nine people were killed in that incident.

The construction 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 Derricke Dennis reported.

The development will include several additional new buildings.

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

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