New York Daily News: MANHATTAN – A crane lifting construction materials toppled over and crashed into a Queens construction site Friday after the hoisting arm “bowed like a fishing pole,” stunned witnesses said.
The crane fell into the 36th Avenue work site in Astoria about 8:30am, sending the boom truck it was attached to flying into the air, authorities said.
“I saw the truck about 20 feet up in the air. The crane had fallen back almost half the block into the construction pit,” witness Melissa Trott told the Daily News. “I heard an enormous boom and as soon as I walked up to the corner I saw a bunch of construction workers staring in complete silence.”
When first responders arrived, the crane’s truck was teetering on the second floor of the two story building under construction.
“Fortunately the crane operator was out of the truck,” FDNY Captain Carmine Calderaro, acting chief of Battalion 49, said at the scene Friday. “We got a report that there was only two workers in the building under construction. They were also removed.”
No injuries were reported. The crane struck an adjoining building when it fell, causing minor damage to the parapet wall, Calderaro said.
Witness Rich Stewart noticed something was wrong with the crane moments before it listed.
“It didn’t look like it was balanced right,” Stewart explained. “The end of the crane was bowed like a fishing pole. I thought, ‘I don’t know about the construction of cranes, but maybe that’s not what its supposed to do.’”
A few moments later, the crane leaned over and fell, Stewart said.
“It shifted a couple of times as we watched it, so its really precarious,” he said.
The city’s Department of Buildings is investigating the crash. Workers at Classic Steel Fabricators and Erectors, the company that owns the boom truck, did not return a call for comment.
The DOB was last at the site on Tuesday, when an inspector issued a single violation because the construction materials being stored underneath the sidewalk shed without the proper barriers, an agency spokesman said.
The crane collapse occurred as City Hall is mulling over new legislation that would create new safety requirements designed to prevent the overloading and improper installation of steel, which have sparked construction accidents in the past.
- Top Feature Photo: A crane toppled over onto a construction site at 35-40 36th Ave. in Astoria, Queens on Friday, July 2, 2021 – Barry Williams/for New York Daily News