67-Year-Old Woman in Queens Dies After High Winds Cause Debris to Fall Across NYC

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What to Know

  • A 67-year-old woman walking along a sidewalk in Queens was struck in the head by falling debris, according to police
  • The woman, who has since been identified as Xiang Ji, from Westbury, was found unconscious and unresponsive on the sidewalk in the area of 41 Road and Main Street, police said
  • The plywood allegedly dislodged from a building on Main Street in Flushing, police say.

A 67-year-old woman delivering papers in Queens was killed after a piece of falling debris caused by powerful winds struck her in the head on Thursday.

Police say Xiang Ji of Westbury was found unconscious and unresponsive on the sidewalk in the area of 41 Road and Main Street in Flushing. She was subsequently transported to New York Presbyterian Hospital/Queens where she was pronounced dead.

A large piece of plywood covered with aluminum allegedly dislodged from a building on Main Street in Flushing. The building has 18 open violations, according to the city's Department of Buildings. Officials have now been ordered the owners to construct a sidewalk shed.

"Forensic engineers and inspectors from the Department are still on site, conducting a thorough investigation of the entire building, to ensure that there is no further danger to the public," the department said in a statement.

Wind gusts of up to 50 mph caused concerns for pedestrians and the DOB, which advised property owners, contractors and crane operators to take precautionary measures Thursday -- or face violations. This is done in an effort to reduce the possibility of flying debris, which is of worry during high wind days.

Neighbors say it is bitter and cruel irony that the architect killed by falling debris from a midtown building died as a result of an owner's failure to maintain a safe building, as it's something she was passionate about. NBC New York’s Ida Siegal reports.

The Queens incident was not the only time debris fell onto to city streets Thursday. Around 2 p.m., a 6-inch by 6-inch piece of terra cotta fell from the 81st floor of a building under construction on West 57th Street in midtown. The debris hit a taxi below between Sixth and Seventh avenues, leaving a sizable dent in its roof.

Inspectors at the scene afterward found a suspended scaffold struck the building, causing the piece to break off and fall, a source told NBC New York.

“There’s so much construction always happening. We’re here with our families and going to work we need to make sure that our government makes sure that we can be safe," Midtown resident Suzanna Keith said.

In Borough Park, Brooklyn, NBC New York saw crews repairing and taking down some scaffolding. Officials say wind caused some of that scaffolding to fall into a Shop Rite parking lot.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in the other two incidents.

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