Crane Collapse at Long Island City Construction Site Hurts 7

By DNAinfo Staff  on January 9, 2013 2:58pm  | Updated on January 9, 2013 6:57pm

LONG ISLAND CITY — Seven people were injured when a crane — owned by the company associated with the 2008 fatal crane collapse on the Upper East Side — came crashing down at the Long Island City construction site where a luxury complex is being built Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

The rig's 170-foot boom fell just after 2:20 p.m. at 46-10 Center Blvd. at 46th Avenue, leaving three people trapped beneath it, FDNY and Department of Buildings officials said.

Three people suffered serious injuries and four suffered minor injuries, the FDNY said. Five were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center and two were taken to New York Hospital, with injuries including broken bones, the FDNY said.

"We heard a pop, pop, snap and then we ran," said Russell Roberson, 32, a construction worker on the site who lives in Brooklyn. "As soon as I turned around, I saw the crane lying in the deck."

The Department of Buildings shut down the work site late Wednesday.

"We have issued a Stop Work Order at the site of the #Queens #crane collapse at 46-10 Center Blvd," the DOB tweeted. "Our investigation is ongoing."

The mangled rig belonged to New York Crane, the DOB said, which also owned the crane that collapsed on the Upper East Side in 2008, leaving two people dead.

A representative of New York Crane declined to comment.

The crane, which had just arrived on the site several days ago, was lifting a load of wood when it fell, FDNY officials and witnesses said.

“We don’t know why it collapsed yet," FDNY Deputy Chief Mark Ferran said.

Workers had just recently started building a 25-story residential tower at the site, which is being developed by TF Cornerstone, DOB officials said.

The building is one of six planned for the EastCoastLIC complex, which will have 2,615 rental units when completed. Studios at 4540 Center Blvd., another building in the complex, start at $2,100 a month.

TF Cornerstone said in a statement that subcontractor Cross Country Construction was building the tower and leased the crane from New York Crane.

"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," TF Cornerstone said in a statement.

Robeson, who was 20 to 30 feet away from the crane when it fell, said he was shaken up.

"It could have been me over there," he said.

Vincent Bruno, 45, a UPS deliveryman, was just outside the site when he heard a loud bang and turned in time to see the crane fall to the ground.

The crane landed on one side of a wooden platform, catapulting workers on the other side of the platform into the air, like a seesaw, Bruno said.

"It was the sickest thing I've ever seen in my life," Bruno said. "I was shaking...I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was like a movie."

He dialed 911 and said he later saw EMS workers carry out a stretcher with a man in a neck brace.

Emergency responders, including Department of Buildings engineers, were on scene working to determine the cause of the collapse, the FDNY and DOB said.

"Emergency personnel are on the scene of an overturned crane at Center Blvd and 46 Ave in QN," the city's Office of Emergency Management tweeted. "Expect traffic delays in the area."

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