Air Conditioning Unit Plunges Nearly 30 Stories in Midtown Crane Accident; 10 Hurt

An industrial air conditioner being hoisted by a crane to the top of a midtown building Sunday plummeted nearly 30 stories after a cable snapped, and 10 people were injured by falling debris, authorities said.

The AC unit sheared the side of the building on Madison Avenue between East 38th and East 39th Street before landing on the street below at around 10:45 a.m., according to police.

Two construction workers and eight pedestrians suffered minor injuries from falling debris, officials said. They were treated at local hospitals.

"It was like a train car fell off the side of the building," said Meredith Kelly, a tourist from Atlanta who was walking nearby at the time of the accident.

Mayor de Blasio said the city would undertake a full investigation to determine exactly what caused the accident.

"Thank God this incident occurred at an hour of the day on a weekend when there weren't too many people around," the mayor said.

Buildings Department Commissioner Rick Chandler said it was typical for work to be done on weekends when equipment, such as a crane, is being used. He said all the needed permits for the work involving the crane were "in place," and there had been no official complaints about the crane. 

"We think this device, in this preliminary stage, is in good state and we'll follow up with that," Chandler said.

Streets in the vicinity were closed to traffic and city buses were being detoured from routes in the area.

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