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Work to resume at WTC site after accident

The new World Trade Center buildings rise above

The new World Trade Center buildings rise above the lower Manhattan skyline. (Jan. 24, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

Forty tons of metal beams at the Ground Zero construction site fell 40 stories from a crane onto a flatbed truck Thursday morning, an accident that's expected to have a "negligible" delay on rebuilding the World Trade Center.

The Tishman Construction Corp. said a cable on the crane snapped at about 10 a.m. at the lower Manhattan site.

"The job is partially shut down pending the investigation," Tishman spokesman John Gallagher said in a statement.

He said no one was hurt.

Multiple news reports said the three beams that fell were 60-feet long.

"Everybody was yelling and running," said construction worker Frank Pensabene.

Much of the work at what's known as Tower 4 will resume Friday as city building inspectors and other agencies investigate, Gallagher said.

A top executive at the Port Authority, which owns the site, said the accident won't set back work at the rest of Ground Zero, including the victims' memorial.

"It had and will have negligible impact on the work and the schedule," said executive director Patrick J. Foye at the Port Authority. "The safety safeguards down there are frankly among the best in the world. Unfortunately, accidents happen and thankfully no one was hurt."

He said the accident happened at project controlled by developer Silverstein Properties. Foye said his agency was in contact with Silverstein Thursday: "The Port Authority's asked for and expects a full report."

Silverstein's spokesman referred questions to Tishman.

Gallagher said the accident was at Four World Trade Center: "The cable of a crane broke, causing the steel it was lifting to fall about 40 stories back onto the flatbed truck that had transported the steel into the World Trade Center site. The incident occurred within an enclosed section of the site, which is not accessible to the public."

Inspectors and engineers from the New York City buildings department are expected to be back at the site Friday, said spokeswoman Ryan FitzGibbon.

No details were available last night on whether the World Trade Center rebuilding has been cited on safety issues.

City firefighters examined the crane operator at the scene.

"He was looked at, seen, not because of injuries, but because it was a traumatic experience and he was fine enough not to go to the hospital," said fire department spokesman Rich Viglione. "When the stuff fell, he thought he killed somebody."

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