Photograph of an injured worker being unloaded from the construction bucket from reader Nick Sonderup
There are reports that a crane lost its load of concrete beams at Spring and 6th Avenue. The beams hit the building and sidewalk scaffolding and people are trapped. One fatality is being reported.
Photograph of workers on the sidewalk pointing by from stconrad on Flickr
The reports indicate the accident occurred at a building under contraction at 246 Spring Street - which the site of the Trump Soho.
More details as the story develops. Here's the Department of Buildings information on 246 Spring Street; the most recent complaint was last Friday: "CALLER STATES, FALLEN DEBRIS OFF A CRANE. DEBRIS CAUSED A WINDOW TO BREAK AT 150 VARICK ST. ON THE 6 FLOOR."
Photographs from reader Rachel
Update 1: Now we're hearing that part of the 42nd floor collapsed into the 41st floor. Reader renter999 commented, "I'm in the building next door, and when the collapse occurred a whole load of debris and wet cement fell partly on my building and partly on the ground below. I could see a worker swept off the roof into the safety net attached to the building." As you can see from the photographs immediately above, in the right corner of the building, it looks like something is missing with the second photograph shows construction workers.
Also, another injured worker is being transported by a bucket.
Last month, a crane had the WTC site collapsed, causing 14,000 pounds of steel to fall to the ground. The steel beams hit a construction trailer and seriously injured an architect.
Update 2:30PM: Three people in a construction bucket are being lifted up. One of them appears to have a serious injury.
Photograph by Tien Mao
Update 2:56PM: EMS, NYPD, FDNY, OEM, and DOB are on the scene. Reader Scott who had been looking out his window when the incident occurred wrote:
I watch that crane all day long and happened to be looking right at it when the accident happened. It was carrying a hopper full of wet cement up to the top floor to presumably be poured into plywood molds for the columns or floor up there. As the hopper just barely passed the top corner of the building, it was brought over the top of the building and it simply opened up and dumped all of it’s contents on that corner. The wet cement rained down, collapsing the top two floors on the corner and a lot of debris went into the safety net.
I think it’s important to note that the crane did not appear to do anything wrong. It did not appear to strike the building at all or have any problems. I think the fault was in the wet concrete hopper. It simply opened up for no reason and emptied all the wet concrete out at once.
This is what a concrete hopper can look like.
Photograph by Tien Mao
The crane was being operated by Federated Crane, which, according to Emporis, has worked on projects like Bloomberg Tower, the Time Warner Center, and the U.S. District Courthouse in Cadman Plaza.
WNBC reports that the fatality was caused when the worker fell 30 feet: "A crane dropped a piece of concrete onto the scaffolding, which collapsed after the impact." And here's a haunting photograph from of two construction helmets from workers who fell:
Photograph by culfofinsatiable on Flickr
Update 3:25PM: With Varick closed between VanDam and Broome Streets, commuters using the Holland Tunnel can expect many delays. WABC 7 reports that Sixth Avenue is also closed between Spring and Broome for staging.
Update 3:51PM: The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, one of the fiercest opponents of the Trump condo-hotel, told NY Mag's Daily Intel, "This building was already a monument to greed and hubris; now, sadly, it will be a monument to tragedy as well." Well, the building was built atop of skeletal remains.
And the Trump organization has not responded to any requests for comment yet.
The Trump organization is directing comments to contractor Bovis Lend Lease. And the Observer has the full quote from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Presrvation's Andrew Berman:
First and foremost, our thoughts are with the victims of this tragedy and their families and loved ones. But this is a tragedy that never should have happened. This building was illegal and never should have been approved by the City. But the City bent over backwards to push it through, and then the developers worked at lightning speed to get the building up while the legal challenge has been making its way through the system. This building was already a monument to greed and hubris; now, sadly, it will be a monument to tragedy as well.
Photograph by Brannon Woods - notice the cement on the injured worker's shoe
Update 5:15PM: There's a little bit of disagreement on how the worker died. The Post says that when a bucket of concrete "careened into scaffolding" and Yuri, a married father from the Ukraine, fell 30 feet to his death when a "bucket and the scaffolding" fell on top of him.
The Daily News reports he actually "plummeted 42 stories" when the crane dropped its load. One worker, Walter Brown, who was "under the floor that collapsed" told the News, '"There was a rush of concrete. Then, everything came down...One guy missed the net and went over and literally fell to his death." The NY Times suggests that the distance was at least 30 feet, but it's unclear how far he fell.
Photograph of cement-covered netting by Brannon Woods
The other worker who fell into the safety net was "saved by other laborers who were lowered to him." He was tangled in the net and Brown said, "He was covered up to his neck in concrete. I could only see his head moving. We put the debris bucket underneath him and just lowered him down." The injured worker is in serious condition at St. Vincent's.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer sent the Observer this statement:
The accident at the new hotel at 246 Spring Street is another example of the dangerous conditions created by rushed construction in Manhattan. My office did an initial investigation of violations at the site and discovered that there were two Class A violations issued on October 26, 2007. These violations are considered high risk. However, the construction was allowed to continue unchecked and the Environmental Control Board hearing to review the violations was not scheduled until January 24, 2008.
This is unacceptable. The death and injury of construction workers and the compromised safety of emergency responders and surrounding community should not be considered the cost of doing business in Manhattan. Any type of high risk violation should necessitate a halt of unsafe work until the violation is cured. I will continue to investigate this matter and look to see rapid response from all relevant city agencies. I applaud the fire, police and other emergency responders for their bravery and for putting themselves at risk to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.
One worker told the Daily News it was a rush job, "This is what we get when they make us rush the job. They were making us rush the job."
Thank you to our readers who e-mailed us with their eyewitness accounts and photographs; if you have photographs you would like to share, email them to photos(at)gothamist(dot)com or tag them "gothamist" on Flickr