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$20 million claim filed in NYC crane collapse

The cab and base of a crane lay

The cab and base of a crane lay flipped over in the aftermath of a collapse on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, on Worth Street in TriBeCa. Credit: Craig Ruttle

A Massachusetts man who was severely injured in the Feb. 5 crane collapse in lower Manhattan filed a $20 million notice of claim Friday against New York City, accusing officials of failing to take proper steps to prevent the accident.

Thomas O’Brien of North Easton said in the claim he was sitting in a 2015 Jeep in front of 35 Worth St. when the 565-foot crawler crane plunged to the ground, smashing into his vehicle.

O’Brien, 73, said he suffered numerous injuries, including a fractured spine, severe head lacerations and a traumatic brain injury.

It appears to be the first notice of claim — a prelude to a lawsuit — filed against the city in connection with the accident.

David Wichs, 38, an investment mathematician from Manhattan, was killed in the collapse. Wichs’ estate has said in court filings that it plans to bring a wrongful death action.

Attorney Jonathan Damashek, who is representing O’Brien, said the city failed in its obligation to make sure the crane was being operated safely. Officials said the crane, owned by Bay Crane of Long Island City, Queens, and operated by Galasso Trucking and Rigging of Maspeth, was being secured against high winds when it fell.

A spokesman for the Department of Buildings said Friday the investigation into the accident was still underway.

Damashek said he also intends to sue the owner of the building where the crane was being used, as well as Bay Crane and Galasso Trucking and Rigging.

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