NYC crane collapse on Worth Street in TriBeCa kills 1, injures 3, FDNY says

The crane was being lowered to a secure position due to the wind when it collapsed.

A 38-year-old male was killed and three other people were injured after a crawler crane collapsed in TriBeCa on Friday morning, police said.

Emergency personnel responded to the accident at 40 Worth St. between West Broadway and Church Street just before 8:30 a.m. More than 140 firefighters and EMS were deployed to the scene. 

David Wichs, 38, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. A 45-year-old woman and 73-year-old man were hit by falling debris and transported to NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital and Bellevue Hospital Center, respectively. The woman suffered a leg injury and a laceration to the head, and the man had a laceration to the head, police said. Both are in stable condition. One other person suffered minor injuries, officials said.

The crane was being lowered to a secure position due to winds of more than 20 mph when it collapsed, and it was not otherwise being used on Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference.

Police and the Department of Buildings are questioning the crane’s operator, who was not hurt in the collapse. De Blasio said that the Department of Buildings inspected the crane Thursday morning before the boom was extended to the maximum length of 565 feet, but he could not confirm whether it was used that day. It began operating on Jan. 30 to replace generators and air conditioners on the roof of 60 Hudson St.

De Blasio said officials are investigating what went wrong with the crane, which is owned by Bay Crane and operated by Galasso Trucking and Rigging.  

He also said that this incident should not be grouped into other construction site accidents that have occurred in the city recently.

“We’ve had some real serious issues on construction sites that we are taking major steps to change and to address, but that is different from what we’ve seen here,” he said. “This was a company putting their crane into a secure position as we would have wanted them to.”

The crane collapse broke a water main and caused a gas leak, the mayor said. The water main was shut down, leaving about 100 people without water, according to the Department of Environmental Protection. Con Edison has turned off gas in buildings on Worth Street between West Broadway and Church Street. The issues are expected to be resolved early Friday afternoon, de Blasio said.

There are 376 other crawler cranes in the city that are potentially active. The city has ordered all companies to secure these cranes. Additionally, there are 53 tower cranes, which are larger than crawler cranes, that the city has ordered to be secured.

Friday’s accident was the first crane collapse since 2008, according to de Blasio.

Regular service on the 1, 2 and 3 trains returned with some delays, according to the MTA. After the collapse, the trains were not stopping at Chambers and Franklin streets. The streets between Chambers Street to the south, Canal Street to the north, Hudson Street to the west and Broadway to the east are expected to be cut off for several days, de Blasio said.

Kristin Doney, 48, who lives about a block from the scene of Friday’s accident, said she was walking her dog when the crane toppled.

“It sounded like a bomb,” she said. “I heard sirens and I just walked in the opposite direction.”

Dooney also told amNewYork that there’s a lot of new construction in the area and it’s “always a concern” that a crane may fall.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the deceased victim was inside a car when he was killed based on information provided by de Blasio.

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