Crane operator credited with saving lives in deadly NYC collapse

Officials said the collapse's toll was lessened because construction workers were guiding people away from the street as the crane was being prepared to be lowered.

The downed crane fell at 8.24am, crushing cars and trapping several people inside their vehicles.

De Blasio said pedestrians have been cleared from the street before workers began lowering the crane, averting a potentially greater calamity during the morning rush to work.

Armando Alonso of Manhattan said he saw a man laying on the street when he was evacuated from his office, which is located on West Broadway.

"You could feel the vibration in the building", said Harold, who recounted seeing onlookers trying to rescue someone trapped in a parked vehicle and seeing a person lying motionless on the street.

The crane collapsed into the street Friday morning, stretching much of a block in the Tribeca neighborhood.

Wall Street worker David Wichs (wihks) was praised for his good deeds during his funeral Sunday at a synagogue on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

However, the mayor said that the city's Department of Buildings had taken an initial look into both Galasso and Bay Crane, and there were no reports of recent negative activity, "At this point, we believe they have been doing their work effectively, but there will be a full investigation", he said.

The accidents spurred the resignation of the city buildings commissioner and fueled new safety measures, including hiring more inspectors and expanding training requirements and inspection checklists.

Crain's Business noted in an article on New York City construction deaths last year that "a review of city records shows that construction sites are less safe today than they were seven years ago, when the pace of building was on par with the current booming market".

After inspecting the damage at the crash site, Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered all 376 crawler cranes and 53 tower cranes operating in the city to be secured. However, according to construction workers who were watching from a nearby building, as the crane workers tried to lower it, the crane unexpectedly gained speed until it flipped over.

The sharp criticism of the New York City Department of Buildings was made by the office of Comptroller Scott Stringer, who released the results of an updated audit just hours after the accident.

Stringer told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall there was a study completed in 2008 with recommendations on how to do better. "We have had investigations that go on for months in these types of situations".

That is exactly what the Department of Buildings is working on. "They don't want to have anything to do with that as well". After the collapse, the crane cabin lay upside down in the snow along with the tank tracks that were pointed at the sky. Officials hope to have the street open for Monday morning, but it's unclear if that will be able to happen in time.

The building's owners declined to comment. The crane will have to be taken apart and removed in sections. They used other cranes to load the pieces onto flatbed trucks. "He was not moving", Alonso said.



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