The huge construction crane was swinging a wrecking ball when it fell over on Friday morning in Lower Manhattan.
According to witnesses and emergency crews attending the scene in New York, the crane collapsed on Worth Street, crushing a number of cars. According to Ed Mullins, president of the NYPD’s Sergeants Benevolent Association whose office is located nearby, the machinery was between 15-18 stories high.
Emergency services report at least one person dead at the scene
Mullins said that one of his union’s members had placed a blanket over the dead body of a man, who appeared to be a construction worker. According to the fire department, two other people were seriously injured.
Over 100 members of the emergency services are attending the scene. The collapse occurred at around 8:25 a.m., falling across an intersection and covering a large part of a block in the TriBeCa neighborhood of New York.
One person was trapped inside their car and had to be rescued by firefighters.
Eyewitnesses describe horrific crane collapse
Jesse Natale, a civil engineer, told reporters that he was waiting at the intersection of Worth Street and Church Street at the time of the collapse. “If I caught that light, I’d be dead probably,” said 26-year-old Natale. “It looked like an avalanche — or that the roof was caving in from the snow.”
The machinery, which had “Bay Crane” printed along its side, hit a building and some power lines on its way down, according to witness Sean Campbell. The phone operator at Bay Crane refused to provide any information.
Bay Crane is a 75-year-old company based in Long Island City, which describes itself as “New York’s leader in crane rental and specialized transportation solutions” on its website.
Emergency services are investigating reports that the wrecking ball attached to the machine fell off and entered a building through the roof.
Blair Steele, 29, was on her morning commute when she witnessed the collapse.
“I couldn’t even see all the way to the other end (of the crane),” she said. “Everyone was in shock. Even the police that were here were totally shocked.”
In September last year a crane collapsed in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, killing 107 Muslim worshippers and injuring another 238. Forty suspects are due to be prosecuted for their alleged role in the collapse.