A construction crane accident during the morning rush hour left six people injured in Manhattan on Wednesday. According to authorities, the top portion of the crane caught fire, leading to its collapse onto a busy street.
The incident occurred around 7:30 a.m. (1130 GMT) in the vicinity of 10th and 11th avenues and West 41st and 42nd streets, close to the Hudson Yards complex, as reported by the New York City Police Department on the social media platform, X (formerly known as Twitter).
First responders, including firefighters and rescue personnel, were already on their way to the scene when the crane fell. They were apparently responding to the blaze that had broken out in the crane’s cabin, which ultimately led to the tragic collapse.
The authorities urged the public to avoid the area as emergency vehicles blocked surrounding streets, causing traffic congestion through the nearby Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey.
Video footage of the incident, shared on social media, showed the top section of the crane breaking and brushing against a nearby building as it plummeted to the street. The crane was carrying a substantial 16-ton load of concrete at the time of the collapse, and thick black smoke billowed from the cabin.
Fortunately, all six people injured in the incident, including two firefighters, sustained only minor injuries, as confirmed by the authorities. New York City Mayor Eric Adams expressed relief during a press conference at the scene, noting that the situation could have been far worse given the debris scattered on the street.
The crane operator, who emerged unharmed, attempted to put out the fire before exiting the cabin. However, the intense heat weakened a crucial cable supporting the crane arm, leading to its buckling and the subsequent collapse.
City officials reported that the contractors involved in the construction site, where the 54-floor mixed-use building stood, possessed all the necessary permits, suggesting that the accident might not have resulted from any violations.
New York City has been implementing more stringent safety measures for construction cranes in recent years, considering the towering structures used in building the city’s iconic skyline. However, despite these efforts, accidents like this one still occur.
This incident comes fifteen years after a crane collapse in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan’s East Side, which claimed the lives of seven people. Furthermore, in 2016, another crane collapse in lower Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood resulted in the death of a pedestrian, injuries to three others, and damage to parked cars on the street.
Authorities are expected to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of this latest crane collapse to determine any further safety improvements needed in the city’s construction practices.