Seven workers hurt in LI City crane collapse

The Fire Department of New York says a crane has collapsed at a construction site in the city's Queens borough, injuring seven people, three of them seriously. AP video (Jan. 9)

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Seven workers were injured when a massive crane malfunctioned and crashed into a Long Island City construction site Wednesday afternoon.

A worker who was at the Queens site at 46-10 Center Blvd., which is right behind the landmark Pepsi-Cola neon sign, said the cable to the 17-foot boom snapped while it hauled a load around 2:30 p.m.

Preston White, 48, of the Bronx, said the impact of the cable malfunction was so strong that it shook the scaffolding that he was on.

"You heard it snap. I turned around and I could see . . . [the cable] recoiling back to the crane," White said. "And I turned around and it started coming down."

Many of his co-workers scrambled to avoid the crane as it came down on the two-story construction site.

Three of the injured workers were trapped under the crane. Fifty FDNY units showed up at the scene and got the buried workers out within minutes.

The injured men were taken to Elmhurst Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. None of their wounds appeared to be life-threatening, according to FDNY Deputy Chief Mark Ferran.

"The worst would probably be a broken bone," he said.

Ferran added that there were no injuries to the public and all of the construction workers were accounted for. Investigators were still looking into what caused the collapse at the site, the future site of a 25-story building.

Sources say the crane's owner is Jim Lomma, who was indicted on charges related to the 2008 crane collapse on the Upper East Side that killed two people. Lomma was acquitted in April.

His company, New York Crane, could not be reached for comment.

The construction is part of the Hunters Point development project that will bring new high-rise residential and commercial buildings to the growing western Queens community.

TF Cornerstone, the construction company responsible for the site, said it is cooperating with the investigation.

"Site safety is always our first priority as it relates to construction," the company said in a statement.

City Councilman Jimmy van Bramer, who represents the neighborhood, was at the scene and said the city will ensure that this doesn't happen again.

"So needless to say, we need to make sure these cranes are safe because God forbid if it fell from the 40th story of this building here," the councilman said as he gestured at an adjacent building.

With Igor Kossov and

Anthony M. DeStefano

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