A 27-year-old construction worker was crushed to death Tuesday when a concrete slab fell on him while working on West 37th Street, police said.
The worker, who was not immediately identified, was excavating the site, between 8th and 9th avenues, at about 1:30 p.m., police said. The slab was part of the adjacent building's foundation wall and was not being moved at the time.
The man, from Jersey City, died at the scene, police said. A second worker narrowly escaped the falling debris and was found in the basement area with minor injuries, said FDNY Deputy Chief Joseph Carlsen.
"It's sad when something like this happens," Carlsen said. "It's a tragedy. My heart goes out to the family of the man."
The workers were excavating the soil around the foundation wall, which is standard practice, when the collapse occurred, said Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler. The building next door was evacuated as well.
"It's possible that the piece of slab that fell was not appropriately connected to the piece of concrete that was above it," Chandler said. "It appears that the piece of concrete that was placed above it might have been done at a separate time so they were done in two different masses."
A woman who works in the building next door was in her studio on the 14th floor when she heard the sirens. She said she immediately saw an arm sticking out from under a concrete slab.
The building is under construction to become an 18-story hotel, according to the DOB. The proposal was filed with the DOB in January.
The building is owned by Sam Chang and the McSam Hotel Group, which also owns several hotels in the area.
In August, there was a partial stop-work order placed on the building for an issue involving barricades. It was rescinded the next day, according to the DOB.
Requests for comment from Chang and the architect for the building, Gene Kaufman, were not immediately returned.