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Three missing after New York City crane collapse


Written on 9:01 PM by yahoo

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Three people were missing Sunday, a day after a crane collapsed, killing four construction workers on the east side of Midtown Manhattan, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters.


Workers stand on an elevator at the construction site where a crane collapsed Saturday.

Rescue workers were searching for two construction workers and a woman believed to have been in a five-story townhouse that was destroyed by the top portion of the crane.

The accident occurred Saturday on 50th and 51st streets near Second Avenue when a piece of steel fell, shearing a tie holding the crane to a skyscraper under construction.

The crane, which is about 22 stories tall, is still leaning against a building, and removing it is a very delicate process, Bloomberg said Sunday.

As portions of the crane are removed, rescuers are using listening devices to hear if anyone is still alive in the rubble.

In addition to the four dead and three missing, 24 people were injured, including 11 first responders. Three were critically wounded, said Bloomberg, but had been upgraded Sunday to serious condition.

The crane damaged six nearby buildings, including an 18-story residential high-rise across the street from the construction site. A dozen other buildings in the area were evacuated, Bloomberg said.

Ellen Sweeney, a witness to the collapse, said the crane had looked "wobbly.

"It was the highest crane any of us had ever seen," she said. "It's a small street, not full of high-rises, and the noise sounded like an earthquake. That's what I thought it was."

The American Red Cross offered shelter Saturday night at a nearby high school, the mayor said, and 10 people stayed overnight while others reached out to family and friends. Several streets remained closed Sunday evening.

City officials inspected the crane Friday and found no violations. Bloomberg said that violations had been issued in the past 27 months, but that was routine for a large construction job. He noted that those violations had nothing to do with the crane.

However, New York's environmental control board had cited the construction site itself for at least nine comparatively minor infractions -- from failure to have a safety manager present, as required, to failing to perform adequate housekeeping.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer on Sunday argued it should not be considered "business as usual" for such violations to occur.

Stringer provided a list of the violations, plus another five "open violations" being looked at by the New York Department of Buildings.

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