A unique kind of pedestrian fatality in New York City reappeared on Friday, Feb. 5, at about 8:30 a.m. A massive crane crashed to the ground, crushing and killing a man who was waiting at a light to cross the street and injuring at least two others. Workers were trying to lower the crane amidst high winds when it got loose and slammed into the street, crushing a row of parked cars and creating a war zone scene, according to authorities and witnesses. The fatal accident occurred near Worth and Broadway in the Tribeca section of lower Manhattan.
One man was injured and trapped in a parked car while emergency responders flooded the area to save his and other lives. That man and another victim were listed in critical condition. The 38-year-old decedent was a Wall Street worker in a trading firm. Authorities were stumped as to the cause of the accident and announced a formal investigation.
The accident resulted in the city putting all of the several hundred cranes in the city into secure positions. This is not the first situation where casualties have been suffered due to crane collapse. In 2008, two massive tower cranes fell within two months of each other, resulting in a total of nine deaths to bystanders and motorists.
Other incidents have resulted in injuries and at least two deaths to workers in accidents involving cranes or booms in New York City in the past few years. The owners and contractors in charge of the machines have a duty to use the utmost care to protect the safety of bystanders, pedestrians and motorists within the foreseeable zone of danger. Not only must they direct traffic away from danger spots, but they must also use due care to prevent collapse of the machines. In addition to the negligence claims that estate of a fatal accident victim like this may make against the machine’s operators, there may be other parties, such as the city and the machine manufacturers, that may potentially be held liable for the payment of damages.
Source: NBC New York, “15-Story Crane Topples Into Manhattan Street Killing 1, Injuring 3“, Pei-Sze Cheng, Andrew Siff and Jonathan Dienst, Feb. 5, 2016