Crane Collapse on Upper East Side Kills at Least Two [UPDATED]

Incredible. Another crane has collapsed in Manhattan, according to media reports, killing at least one person and wreaking yet more havoc on the East Side.

"The crane, which was apparently being used for a construction project at 354 East 91st Street, on the northwest corner of the intersection, collapsed onto the north facade of the white-brick building at the southwest corner of 91st Street and First Avenue. The damage extends from the building’s top floor, about 20 stories up, to the second floor, just above a Duane Reade drug store."

The second crane collapse this year comes just days after the city announced it would no longer require Buildings Department inspectors to be on site during crane jumps, instead relying on a system of surprise inspections.

On March 15, a 22-story crane collapsed on East 51st Street, killing seven people and leading to the resignation of Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster.

 

Update 9:57 a.m.

This building, a condop development called the Azure, has received 17 complaints this year, seven of which pertained to the crane, according to the Department of Buildings Web site. The most recent, on May 20, reads:

“CALLER STS THERE IS A CRANE APPROX 12 STORIES UP AND THERE IIS A PLATFORM THAT EXTENDS ACROSS SIDEWALK AND WELL INTO TRAFFIC WITHEQUIPMENT ON IT . LOCATION IS WEST SIDE OF 1 AVENUE APPROX 90 ST”

On April 24, the Buildings Department cited a Upper Nyack based company called Regional Scaffolding for OPERATION OF A CRANE IN AN UNSAFE MANNER.OBSERVED A CRANE(LINK BELT,RTC-8030).HOISTING A STEEL BOX.(PERSONAL HOIST).AT TIME OF INSP W/O PERMITS.REMEDY:STOP ALL OPERATIONS.OBTAIN PERMITS CALL FOR REINSP”

Update: 10:49 a.m.

The TimesCity Room Blog is reporting there are now at least two fatalities:

"The crane operator ‘was still in the cab of the crane’ when it came down, a law enforcement official said. One of the two victims was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other was taken to Metropolitan Hospital, where he died. At least two other people were reported injured."

The Times is also reporting that "the company that operated the crane in today’s collapse, New York Crane, is the same company that operated the crane in the March 15 accident, a city official said."

The FDNY would only confirm one dead. A spokesman said there are about 200 firefighters on the scene. Neither the developer, the DeMatteis Organizaton, nor the Buildings Department has yet commented on this latest debacle.