Crane Collapses Behind Pepsi Sign in Queens, 7 Injured: Officials

By Pei-Sze Cheng and Jonathan Dienst
|  Thursday, Feb 28, 2013  |  Updated 2:17 PM EDT
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Seven people were hurt in Long Island City, Queens after a crane collapsed at a construction site behind the famous Pepsi-Cola sign. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.

NBC 4 New York

Seven people were hurt in Long Island City, Queens after a crane collapsed at a construction site behind the famous Pepsi-Cola sign. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.

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Chopper: Crane Collapse in Long Island City

A crane collapsed in Long Island City, Queens, injuring as many as seven people on a construction site behind the famed Pepsi-Cola sign, authorities say. Dennis Protsko has more from News Chopper 4.
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A crane has collapsed in Long Island City, Queens, injuring seven workers on a construction site behind the famed Pepsi-Cola sign, authorities say.

Officials describe the equipment as a mobile crane unit and say it collapsed shortly before 2:30 p.m. onto the construction site below, at 46th Avenue and Center Boulevard.

Three construction workers were trapped under the crane and had to be extricated, an FDNY deputy chief on the scene said. The most seriously injured suffered broken bones. 

Carpenter Preston White said he was standing on scaffolding about 20 feet from the ground with some other carpenters when the cable on the crane snapped while moving a stack of wood.

"You could hear the cable snap, and it recoiled back toward the crane," said White. "Everybody started running out of that way because that was all that was coming, the cable. And you heard a snap, and the next thing you know, the crane just buckled and it came crashing down."

"You could hear people screaming," he said. "You could hear people calling out, trying to find people. I was surprised I was still on the deck." 

A 25-story residential building is being built on the site at 46-10 Center Blvd. by developer TF Cornerstone. 

Matthew Knell, who lives across from the construction site, said he "heard a big bang" and ran to the window, where he saw workers running from the crane.

Randall Todd said he was walking his dogs nearby when he heard the sound of what he described as breaking metal.

He looked over and saw "the top horizontal arm of the crane dropping, but it folded on itself, accordion-style, including the vertical tower, which seemed to snap in half."

The cause of the collapse was not immediately clear.

TF Cornerstone said in a statement, "Site safety is always our first priority as it relates to construction, and we are cooperating fully with all relevant authorities to try and determine what caused this occurrence."

The work at the site was being carried out by subcontractor Cross Country Construction. The crane had been leased to Cross Country Construction by New York Crane. 

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