Seven Injured After Crane Collapse in Queens

A 300-foot crane crashed onto a building under construction in Long Island City, Queens, around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, while lifting a load, the authorities said.

There were seven people injured, three of them seriously, according to fire officials. None of the injuries was life-threatening, they said. There was no immediate explanation for why the crane collapsed. The mangled red crane could be seen stretching hundreds of feet, having smashed into plywood and concrete on the site.

35 story crane just collapsed outside my window in Long Island City! The sound was horrific!!! http://t.co/0yENgsF1

UnSweetTee (@UnSweetTee) 9 Jan 13

The building under construction where the crane fell is 46-10 Vernon Boulevard, just behind the famous Pepsi-Cola sign on the East River.

Dozens of construction workers were at the site at the time of the accident.

The building is one of several luxury towers being developed by TF Cornerstone. Several neighboring buildings that are part of the project, known as EastCoast, are already completed and filled with residents.

The crane did not appear to have damaged any other buildings.

The concrete subcontractor, Cross County Contracting of Elmsford, N.Y., was responsible for the work currently underway, said Frank Marino, a spokesman for TF Cornerstone.

The project will be a 26-story residential tower when completed.

The New York Crane and Equipment Corporation, which owns the crane in Long Island, was involved in a 2008 accident in Manhattan that left two people dead.

The company’s owner, James F. Lomma, was tried and acquitted on charges of manslaughter.

During the two-month trial, prosecutors said Mr. Lomma had relied on an unqualified Chinese company to make repairs to the crane because it offered a low price and a quick turnaround.

The defense argued that the accident was not the result of negligence, but happened after the crane operator attempted to lift too heavy a load, causing the line to snap.

That collapse at 91st Street and First Avenue occurred on May 30, 2008, just two months after another fatal crane accident on the East Side of Manhattan.

The earlier accident left seven people dead. William Rapetti, a rigging contractor, was charged and acquitted of manslaughter charges after the accident.

Mobile cranes like the one in Wednesday’s collapse are often used in the early stages of construction. As the building rises, a tower crane is lashed to the side of the building.

[View the story “Crane collapse in Long Island City, Queens” on Storify]

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