March 16, 2008 in Nation/World

Crane collapse kills 4 in N.Y.

Pat Rizzo and Clare Trapasso Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

A section of collapsed crane protrudes from a crushed building on in New York City on Saturday. Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

NEW YORK – A crane mounted to the side of a skyscraper under construction toppled with a roar Saturday, smashing into a block of apartment buildings, killing at least four people and setting off a scramble for survivors in the rubble.

The crane split into pieces as it fell, pulverizing a four-story brownstone and demolishing parts of three other buildings.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at least four people, believed to be construction workers, have died and at least 10 people were injured in one of the city’s worst construction accidents in recent memory.

The collapse created a virtual war zone on an affluent block on Manhattan’s East Side: Cars were overturned and crushed. A huge dust cloud rose over the neighborhood. Rubble was piled several stories high.

“It’s a horrible situation, very gory. There’s blood in the street,” said Lt. Gov. David Paterson, who takes over as governor for disgraced Eliot Spitzer on Monday.

An intensive rescue operation was under way to find anyone trapped. One man was pulled from a collapsed townhouse 3 1/2 hours after the building was crushed.

About 19 of the condominium tower’s planned 44 stories had been erected, and the crane was scheduled to be extended Saturday so workers could start work on a fresh story, said an owner of the company that manages the construction site.

A piece of steel fell and sheared off one of the ties holding it to the building, causing it to detach and topple, said Stephen Kaplan, an owner of the Reliance Construction Group.

© Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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