Yesterday's grating collapse outside a Brooklyn yeshiva left 34 students injured. Dozens of schoolgirls, ages 10-14, at Yeshiva Shaare Torah had been posing for graduation pictures when the grating over shaft gave way. A witness told the Post, "These kids were like clinging on the side of the building. They were screaming and panicking."
Some of the schoolgirls spoke to the Daily News: One, 11-year-old Rachel Lalo, said, "We were standing on this thing, and it started shaking and we fell down," while Ruthie Levy, also 11, said, "I heard it shaking and a lot of people were trying to jump up. They were in the air. They were trying to get off, but it fell. ... We fell on top of each other."
The Department of Buildings found the grate's bolts to be "worn" and "gave way" with all the children on the grate. The school was issued a violation for not maintaining the grate. The Post says that school claimed the children weren't seriously injured, but, according to the NY Times, 13 "were taken to Maimonides Medical Center, 12 were taken to Lutheran Medical Center, 5 were taken to New York Methodist Hospital and 4 were released to their parents"—"the most seriously injured student sustained a compound fracture." But one parent told the News, "I'm disturbed, but I don't blame the school at all. I don't think it was something they gave thought to. People walk on these every day. Does anyone give it a thought?"
Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) was concerned for the girls, but said that the community was panicked it might be something much worse, after news of the terror plot aimed at Bronx synagogues, "It really was a very scary situation. Thank God it wasn't anything else."