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Operator and Contractor Cited in Long Island City Crane Collapse

LONG ISLAND CITY — The crane operator and the contractor involved in the collapse of a 170-foot-long crane at a Queens construction site earlier this month are facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines — and the developer is on the hook for fines, too, officials said.

A Department of Buildings spokesman confirmed that crane operator Paul Geer and contractor Cross Country Construction LLC were issued five violations each in relation to the accident — and face at least $64,000 in fines a piece — for failing to inspect equipment and take proper safety precautions at the 46-10 Center Blvd. site, where a luxury high-rise is being built, as first reported by the Associated Press first reported.

"Neither the crane operator nor his supervisors made sure the operation was being performed according to approved plans," city Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said in a statement, according to the AP. Developer TF Cornerstone and site safety manager Arthur Covelli were also both cited with a single violation each, that carries at least $2,400 in fines, the AP reported.

Operator Geer's license was suspended a day after the Jan. 9 accident, when an initial investigation found he was trying to lift a load of 23,900 pounds, more than double the mobile crane's capacity, in the moments before the boom crashed to the ground.

Three workers were trapped under the collapsed machinery, and seven total were transferred to area-hospitals with injuries including broken bones, the FDNY said at the time.

The crane was being leased by Cross Construction Construction from New York Crane, the same company which also owned the which also owned the crane that collapsed on the Upper East Side in 2008, leaving two people dead.

A partial stop work order is still in effect at the site, according to DOB records Wednesday afternoon.

TF Cornerstone is building a 25-story residential tower at the site, one of several luxury buildings in the developer's EastCoastLIC complex.