At least one man was killed and at least three other people were hurt when a crawler crane being secured because of high winds toppled over in lower Manhattan Friday morning, Mayor de Blasio said.
The construction equipment was being lowered and secured because of winds topping 20 mph when it toppled over at Worth and Church streets in Tribeca at about 8:30 a.m., de Blasio said. The crane, owned by Bay Crane and stretching more than 15-stories high, smashed into several buildings on the way down before crashing onto several parked cars.
According to Storm Team 4, a ground-level gust of about 37 mph was reported about a mile away from the crash site nine minutes before the collapse.
The collapse killed one man who was sitting in his car, de Blasio said, and injured three others. Two are in serious condition, while the third person had minor injuries. The people who were hurt were hit by falling debris, and the mayor said all of them were bystanders.
More than 100 firefighters responded to the scene along with dozens of EMS workers and police.
Police have set up barricades around the scene. No. 1, 2 and 3 subway trains are bypassing stops at Chambers Street and Franklin street stops.
The crane crashed down so hard that it disrupted underground infrastructure, Con Edison spokesman Alfonso Quiroz said. The utility told NBC 4 New York that they got a gas reading at an address on Worth Street and has shut down gas mains in the area. Several buildings have been evacuated and authorities are looking to secure four nearby buildings.
De Blasio said that it will take several days to clean up the area.
“It will certainly take several days, certainly no earlier than Monday, possibly longer, before we can get things back to normal in these immediate blocks,” he said.
The crane was being used at a building across the street from the NYPD Sergeant’s Benevolent Association. Members of the union were among the first to respond after the collapse, according to Vice President Bob Ganley.
“It was a scene,” Ganley said. “It was surreal. It was like a war zone when it first happened.”
Ganley said he looked out the window and saw the crane crashing down, and others in the building reported that the impact felt like an earthquake. Several officers in the building ran outside and began helping people who were hurt, assisting a person trapped in a car and covering the body of the man who died with a blanket.
The crane is owned by Bay Crane, but it was being operated by Galasso Trucking and Rigging. Bay Crane declined to comment on the collapse to NBC 4 New York, but de Blasio said that the company requires its operators to take down its cranes after gusts hit 20 mph.
Officials say the crane that collapsed on Friday was a crawler. Crawler cranes are mounted on an undercarriage with a set of caterpillar tracks to provide mobility.
Department of Buildings officials had cleared the site a day before the collapse, de Blasio said.
Ganley told NBC 4 New York that he was talking with someone outside his building on Thursday afternoon and was uncomfortable with the height of the crane’s boom, which stretched up several stories.
“I told him, ‘That doesn’t look good, does it?'” he said.