[SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATES] A giant crane toppled over and crashed onto Worth Street between Church Street and West Broadway in Tribeca shortly before 8:30 a.m. today. An FDNY spokesperson said one person was killed and two others were critically injured in the crane collapse. The injured individuals have been taken to Bellevue hospital.
An officer at the scene tells us there were multiple deaths and that "it's about the worst situation it could be." The officer also said he believed the crane fell due to heavy winds whipped up in this morning's snowfall. Here's video:
U/D Manhattan: 40 Worth St video of the crane collapsed that killed 1 & injured others. pic.twitter.com/SMW8cMAmpw
— NYC Scanner (@NYScanner) February 5, 2016
The crane was stationed outside a building at 60 Hudson, which takes up an entire block between West Broadway and Hudson, before it fell. The NYPD has closed off Worth Street where the crane fell, and there are reports of live electrical wires on the ground. Other streets have been closed as well.
— Roberto Alvarez (@JustChikito) February 5, 2016
Update 9:10 a.m.: Alex Dibacco, who works across the street from the building, says the crane was being used to install backup generators on the roof of the building. "They've been hauling engines and fans off the top all week," Dibacco tells us. "They don't want them in the basement after the hurricane."
— Keith V Smith (@KVSaint) February 5, 2016
"The wind was blowing very strongly from the west down Worth street," says Kurt Nelson, who works inside 60 Hudson. He did not see the crane fall, but tells us, "as soon as I got up to our floor and in the office, the whole building shook violently for a couple seconds, and then I ran back down to the street."
Update 9:15 a.m.: Department of Buildings records show that there was a complaint against the building for using the crane on January 31st, before it was permitted to be in use.
— Christopher Palermo (@Patent_This) February 5, 2016
Update 9:38 a.m.: The MTA says that due to the crane collapse, the 1 train is bypassing Franklin Street and Chambers Street in both directions. The 2 and 3 trains are bypassing Chambers Street in both directions.
— Honey Berk (@honeyberk) February 5, 2016
The base of the crane flipped over. This is frightening pic.twitter.com/hXHib0TX8p
— Jamie Stelter (@JamieStelter) February 5, 2016
Update 11:30 a.m.: At a press conference near the site of the collapse, Mayor de Blasio told reporters it was a "miracle" there weren't more injuries or deaths. Officials now say three people were injured, two seriously, by falling debris. One man who was sitting in a car was killed in the collapse.
None of the victims were workers connected to the crane, which is owned by the Bay Crane company. Four buildings were damaged, including New York Law School on West Broadway. The crane's fall impacted gas mains, and officials say there are gas leaks in the area. Several buildings have been evacuated, but none of them were residential.
Workers were in the process of lowering and securing the 565-feet-tall crane this morning before it was toppled over by 25 mph winds. "The crew was directing people away from Worth St. as the crane was being lowered," according to de Blasio.
The crane was inspected by the Buildings Department yesterday because the company had requested permission to extend it to its current 565 feet height. There are some 376 of this type of crane, called a "crawler crane," in use throughout the NYC, and de Blasio has ordered all of them to be lowered and secured in the wake of today's incident. 76 taller "tower cranes" have also been ordered secured.
The crane operator is being interviewed by the NYPD, but it's currently unclear if any criminality is suspected.
— Andrea Grymes (@AndreaGrymesTV) February 5, 2016
Update: 1:41 p.m.: The NYPD has identified the deceased as 38-year-old Upper West Side resident David Wichs, who worked at the New York-based financial trading firm Tower Research Capital. Wichs was reportedly sitting in his car at the time of his death.
Wichs's sister-in-law, Lisa Guttman, tells the Associated Press that Wichs immigrated to the United States from Prague as a teenager, going on to graduate with a degree in mathematics from Harvard University. Wichs was "the most brilliant person ever," Guttman said.
Update 2:39 p.m.: The Daily News reports that Wichs "had exited the parked vehicle and was standing alongside it when the crane began its violent downward arc —and dashed the unsuspecting man to the ground." Another man was reportedly still in the vehicle: Thomas O'Brien, 73, who survived with a head laceration.
(Additional reporting by Jessica Leibowitz and Jennifer Chung)