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Survivor of crane collapse recalls pain at trial

A survivor of a Manhattan crane collapse that killed seven people said Wednesday that there's no way to describe the pain he felt as he lay trapped in the pitch-dark debris of his apartment building.

John Gallego testified Wednesday at crane rigger William Rapetti's manslaughter trial.

Prosecutors say the crane fell in March 2008 because Rapetti did a poor job of securing it. His lawyer says Rapetti was careful and did nothing wrong.

Gallego says he was on his sofa when he heard a loud noise and went to the window. He saw something hit the building behind his.

"When it hit the building, I just closed my eyes and just waited in there, couldn't do anything," Gallego, 33, testified Wednesday. "The next thing - it was so fast - I was under the rubble and thinking I was going to die, and I was buried alive."

Though terrified and in agony, stuck lying on his right side, he worked his phone free and called his girlfriend. He told her to call for help and called 911 himself. He was pulled from the rubble after about four hours.

Gallego nearly passed out from pain as rescuers worked to free him, he said. "I don't think there's a way to describe it. There was a lot of pain," he said.

Gallego ultimately had five surgeries on his legs and still walks with a cane.

- AP

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