Witnesses Compare Physical Shaking To 9/11 'Only Far, Far Worse'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The impact from a crane collapse that left one person dead and three others injured in Lower Manhattan had many nearby residents fearing the worst.

Workers were trying to secure the crane because of high winds when it came crashing down just before 8:30 a.m. Friday on Worth Street near Church Street in Tribeca.

Nearby residents said they were nervous from day one when the 565 foot crane was erected.

“This was a disaster waiting to happen,” nearby resident Bruce Ehreman told CBS2’s Meg Baker. “We knew something was gonna happen, we asked the operator what are the odds of this crane collapsing the day it was being erected, and they said you have a better chance of winning the Powerball lottery.”

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“This crane has been here for a week, it was shut down two days ago because of  high wind,” nearby resident Brian O’Rourke said. “It’s massive and it’s lifting equipment on top of 60 Hudson, equipment the size of a medium size truck.”

The crane, which is owned by Bay Crane, was being used for work at 60 Hudson Street, the former Western Union Building, to replace generators and air conditioner units on the roof, Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler said.

It had full permits and the site had been active for about a week. The crane went up on Jan. 30 and had been inspected as recently as Thursday, officials said.

The terrifying site of the crane plunging to earth on Friday morning, is something traumatized witnesses may never be able to erase from their memories.

“You heard the boom and then you run to the windows and you see a crane falling on the street,” one witness said.

Ehreman was home when the crane collapsed and he felt the impact from his sixth floor apartment.

“It was the same feeling physically of shaking as 9/11 only far, far worse,” Ehreman said. “I thought our building was going to collapse.”

O’Rourke lives at nearby 13 Worth Street and said he could see the cab of his crane from his window. He was not home at the time of the incident, but his wife was.

“I was uptown on a bus and she called me and said, ‘It fell,’ and I knew what she meant. She said it feels like 9/11,” O’Rourke said.

Barbara Veras, who was walking her children to school on Church Street, said she was still shaking.

“Like an earthquake,” she told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “Like a big earthquake.”

Teddy Johnson felt the jolt from a block away.

“This building shook, that building shook,” he told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones. “Real loud noise, real loud bang.”

Residents who live on Worth Street between Church and Hudson streets have been evacuated, but were allowed to grab a few belongings from their apartments. It is unclear when they can return to their homes.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said disruptions in the area could last for several days.

Con Edison has been on the scene for several hours, responding to reports of a gas odor at 57 Worth Street.


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