A 37-year-old woman was killed by a flying piece of plywood in the West Village after blustery winds knocked it from a fence across the street.
The woman, Trang-Thuy Nguyen, known as Tina, was walking down West 12th Street, near 7th Avenue, on Tuesday when the plywood knocked into her head, police said. The wood had come loose from the Turner Construction Company site just before 6 p.m. where they are building a luxury development.
Nguyen, who worked as a real estate agent for Keller Williams, was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center where she was pronounced dead.
Her fiancé, Alejandro Beitler, said Nguyen will be buried in Philadelphia.
"She always saw the best in everyone. She was always reminding me to see the same," Beitler said in a statement. "We were together for 5 of the best years of our lives. We planned to be married in July of this year.
"This is the most devastating loss," he added. "She was the woman of my dreams. I hope people will remember her by seeing the best in one another and treating each other with true kindness.”
Matt Amses, 54, lives across the street from the construction site and was inside his apartment when he the heard the "bang" of the plywood slamming, just feet from where Nguyen died. He immediately called his wife several times to make sure she was alright.
"We're a bit shaken up, we walk out of this building every day," Amses said. "It could have been anybody."
A garage attendant right next to where she was hit peeked his head out after he heard a woman scream.
"I feel so sad. She was lying down," said the 50-year-old man, who declined to give his name. "Somebody was helping her, just holding her."
They screamed for him to call 911.
"I'm 50 years old, when you think you've seen everything," he said. "It could have happened to me."
By Wednesday afternoon a few construction workers milled about the site while the wind whipped around the residential block.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of a pedestrian who was walking near the construction site on West 12th Street. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this very difficult time,” Turner Construction spokesman Chris McFadden said in an email. "Safety on and around our jobsites is always our number one priority. We are conducting an investigation into the circumstances of the incident. We are also fully cooperating with investigations by the Department of Buildings and other agencies looking into this incident."
The buildings department issued a full stop work order on the site and issued a violation for failure to safeguard property, a department spokesman said.
“It is the responsibility of building owners and construction site managers to ensure their properties are safeguarded and in code compliant conditions at all times,” the spokesman said. "A failure to do so can result in enforcement action by the department including the issuance of violations.”
The Greenwich Lane development, which is being built on the former site of St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan, will feature a mix of condos and townhomes, according to the developer's website. The homes will center around a garden, and feature many luxury amenities, including a 25-meter pool, a private screening room, as well as lobby storage for wine and flower deliveries.
"What happened is tragic and devastating," the developers said in a statement. "We extend our deepest condolences to the family."
(With Alexa Vagelatos and Sheila Anne Feeney)