One construction worker was killed and four other people were injured in a crane accident on a construction site connected to the extension of the 7 subway line on the West Side of Manhattan Tuesday evening.
Officials said the boom of a crane at "Site J" of the 7 subway line extension project on 34th Street and 11th Avenue came off and crashed to the ground. A team of construction workers were 60 feet below street level at the time, and four of them were injured.
They were taken out in what officials described as a high-angle rescue operation. One of them, 30 years old, suffered massive trauma and later died. Three other workers were injured, and one grieving relative who had rushed to the scene suffered trauma.
"We had a fire department doctor respond, we had two FDNY rescue medics," said FDNY Chief Jack Sullivan. "It was extremely dangerous because we had construction equipment that wasn't stable, and the crane was leaning against the building."
The crane was set up on the second of three levels at the construction site on Manhattan's West Side, the city officials said. The FDNY said the boom came apart in two pieces -- one 80 feet long and the other 40 feet long.
Standing on a sidewalk, one construction laborer collapsed in tears into the arms of another worker. A laborer could be heard saying: "I can't take it.''
Thomas Rushkin, a retired city police officer and private investigator, said he was on his way home when he saw emergency vehicles heading over and got a glance at the pieces of the crane.
"The arm is broken in half,'' he said.
Another witness, Kennon Murphy, of Charlotte, N.C., said he was on his way to the nearby Javits Convention Center when he heard "a big boom.''
The 7 subway line extension was due to open in December 2013.
For now, the city's Buildings Department has stopped work on the site. Officials said the cause is under investigation.
The site of the accident is across the street from the Javits Center, where the New York International Auto Show, which typically attracts more than 1 million visitors, is set to begin Friday.
In a statement Tuesday night, the MTA said: "We pray for the recovery of the workers injured as a result of this tragic accident tonight. We will work together with all proper authorities to conduct a thorough investigation on the circumstances behind the unfortunate accident."
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