Thankfully nobody was injured after a loose cable on a spinning crane hit a building under construction sending giant metal debris down the streets in Midtown Manhattan yesterday night around 7 PM and creating chaos.
The metal pieces fell from the 84th floor of a high rise under construction at 111 West 57th Street. The spinning crane at the top of the building first caused concerns that it could be loose or unstable but later on firefighters noticed that a cable hanging from the spinning boom was constantly hitting the building, destroying it and sending pieces of metal down the street near the intersection of 6th Avenue and 56th Street.
A crane crew was then sent up and the crane operator was able to get into the crane and secure the loose cable. The DOT issued a full stop work order for failure to safeguard public and property construction operations.
In New York City, during high winds, crane operators must stop work and proprely secure their cranes to prevent dangerous crane accidents such as the one that occurred a few years ago in downtown Manhattan (see previous blog).
When securing the crane, operators often use a configuration called “Weathervaining” which allows the crane to spine 360 degrees when not in use. Such configuration allows for better crane stability as the the crane swings in the direction of the wind in a manner that reduces wind resistance. However in yesterday’s crane accident, the crane was not properly secured as a cable was left hanging too low from the boom. This is major negligence which could have caused serious injuries or most probably death if the piece of metal had fell on a pedestrian.
This morning, traffic was still shut down in streets near the building under construction as some metal sheets were still seen dangling dangerously on the top of the high rise.