A construction crane collapsed on a street in lower Manhattan on Friday morning, killing a person sitting in a parked car and injuring three other people, authorities said.
The towering crane was being secured when it tumbled down onto Worth Street in Tribeca, a roadway that would have normally been teeming with people during the morning rush hour. However, officials said the collapse’s toll may have been lessened because construction workers were guiding people away from the street when the crane toppled over.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said “it was something of a miracle” more people were not killed or injured when the red metal crane came crashing down onto the street. He said the city was ordering all cranes to be secured Friday in the wake of the collapse.
The person who was killed happened to be in a parked car on Worth Street when the crane fell, de Blasio said at a news conference Friday morning.
Three other people were hurt, two of them with serious injuries and the other person with minor injuries, the fire department and de Blasio said. None of these injuries are life-threatening, de Blasio said.
The collapse was captured on video by someone filming from a nearby window, depicting the crane toppling over and narrowly missing the buildings that lined Worth Street:
Police officials said they were not identifying the people killed or injured until their relatives could be notified.
The crane, which was more than 500 feet long, was working at 60 Hudson Street replacing generators and air conditions on a building’s roof. When it collapsed Friday, the red metal bars wound up stretched along a snow-covered city block, smashing cars and sending debris scattering along the street.
A construction crew was moving the crane into a secure position because of increasing winds, de Blasio said. As a result, workers were directing pedestrians and drivers away from Worth Street while the crane was being moved and, eventually, collapsed.
“This is a very sad incident,” de Blasio said. “We lost a life. But if you go out on the street as I did…thank God it was not worse.”
De Blasio said it was not immediately clear why the collapse happened and vowed “a full investigation into what went wrong.”
He said the crew working on this site had applied for an extension to the crane, but that Friday morning when the collapse had happened, no construction work was going on and the crane was only being secured. The crane that fell had been inspected a day earlier by the city’s Department of Buildings and deemed to be in full compliance, the mayor’s office said.
Police are investigating the collapse along with the city’s Department of Buildings.
More than 140 of the city’s firefighters responded to the scene, officials said.
The collapse also caused gas leaks, and crews from Con Edison, along with police and fire officials, were sweeping the buildings around the collapse every 15 minutes, a representative of the utility said Friday morning.
Streets were closed in the area and gas service along Worth Street was shut down. In addition, a 12-inch water main in the area was shut down to stop a leak, which may have left about 100 people without water, authorities said.
— FDNY (@FDNY) February 5, 2016
This particular crane is known as a crawler crane, de Blasio said. It is smaller than the largest cranes that dot the city, which are known as tower cranes. New York officials ordered all 376 crawler cranes across the city to be secured Friday, along with all 43 tower cranes, de Blasio said. His office later said there were 53, not 43, tower cranes.
The incident in Tribeca appeared to be the city’s most high-profile crane accident since 2008, when two cranes collapsed in the span of 10 weeks.
Scott M. Stringer, the city’s comptroller, said Friday that “dangerous, life-threatening conditions still exist” when it comes to cranes in New York.
“When cranes collapse, it shakes everyone’s confidence that we live in a city where people can feel safe and build their families and businesses,” Stringer said in a statement.
In 2014, Stringer’s office released an audit saying that city officials had not implemented most recommendations from an audit that was launched after the collapses in 2008. On Friday, his office released a follow-up report from November saying that while the Department of Buildings said it was addressing the audit’s recommendations, the agency also said it deemed some deemed not pertinent or impractical.
Due to the collapse Friday, subway trains skipped Franklin Street and Chambers Street stations in the area for much of the morning, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said. Train service was restored early Friday afternoon.
“I couldn’t even see all the way to the other end,” Blair Steele, 29, told the New York Daily News about the downed crane. “Everyone was in shock. … I can’t believe it.”
— Keith V Smith (@KVSaint) February 5, 2016
[This is a developing story and it will continue to be updated. First published: 9:21 a.m.]