2006_09_crane5.jpgThe Buildings Department has some idea of what caused a rigging from a towering crane at Third Avenue and 13th Street to fall on Friday. The Department of Buildings' initial findings say hydraulics failed. The Third Avenue sidewalk between 14th and 12th Streets only opened yesterday afternoon, after the damaged parts of the crane were removed. Here's the NY Times' account of how the crane was stabilized and the aftermath:

The crane was dangerously unbalanced, though. Cranes are designed to resist buckling and falling to the street, but the intricate system of weights and counterweights used to move material was severely damaged. That prompted workers to dismantle the entire crane on Friday evening and early yesterday and lower the pieces to the street.

“We’ll have inspectors back there on Monday,” said Jennifer Givner of the Buildings Department. “We anticipate issuing violations to the crane operator.”

She added that if New York Crane “wants to go back to work, they have to come back to us with what is called an engineer’s report, detailing how they feel the accident occurred and how this can be prevented, kind of like a lessons-learned briefing.”

“We’re very, very fortunate that no one died,” Ms. Givner said.

Let's hope that the construction crews involved give a very detailed briefing - and that other crews take note, because the last thing anyone needs is falling pieces of crane falling when there are so many new developments going up.

And from the Daily News, the cabbie whose car was crushed spoke about his injuries and how God saved him.

Photograph of the crane from NYCviaRachel, who has been on the scene