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Hurricane Sandy winds damage crane in midtown

The top section of a construction crane dangles

The top section of a construction crane dangles precariously 65 stories above W. 57th Street in Manhattan after the highwinds of hurricane Sandy caused it to collapse. (Oct. 29, 2012) Credit: CS Muncy

Police and firefighters have cordoned off a section of midtown after a construction crane was damaged Monday in high winds.

The crane, located at the south side of an approximately 70-story building under construction at the corner of West 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, was bent over toward the street at about 2:45 p.m.

No one was hurt, police said. An area bounded by Sixth Avenue on the east and Eighth Avenue on the west was cordoned off.

Tom Barth, of Barth Crane Consultants of South Carolina, who viewed the crane collapse live on television, said he believed that with approaching high winds the crane should have been "weather vaned," meaning that it would be allowed to rotate if wind caught the boom.

With the boom bending back the way it did, it appeared that it wasn't allowed to weather vane, said Barth.

It's likely that the crane had special shock absorbers to prevent the boom from bending back, but that a strong wind may have been too much. The boom's pendant lines are now preventing it from falling off the building, he said.

After the winds die down, it is likely that another tower crane will have to be put up to take the collapsed one down. "It is going to take time," said Barth.

For now, "I am a firm believer in getting everybody out of the way," said Barth.

With Anthony M. DeStefano


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