A crane collapse in New York City left one dead and three wounded. The fatality victim in the crane collapse accident has been identified as 38-year-old David Wichs.
According to NY Daily News, the crane fell atop a busy street in Tribeca, New York, on Friday morning around 8:24 a.m. When the crane fell, along with the fatality and three injuries it also crashed on top of several parked cars on Worth Street near Church Street. The collapse was likely due to heavy snow and winds near 20 miles per hour.
Wichs, who lived on the Upper West Side, was killed at the scene. Neighbors from his building shared memories and thoughts of him after hearing about the accident. Wichs was Harvard educated and worked at a trading firm; he was born in Prague.
“He was an angel, an absolute angel. He was a wonderful, wonderful person. He was the best, the absolute best, and that’s what makes this tragedy that much greater,” said a man who identified himself as Wichs’ family rabbi, as he left the dead man’s apartment building on Friday.
USA Today reports that although initial reports said Wichs was sitting in a parked car when the crane collapsed, he was actually outside walking near a parked car when he was struck and killed.
Two of the three people wounded have been identified as Dawn Kojima, 45, and Thomas O’Brien, 73. O’Brien was sitting in his parked car waiting for his daughter when the crane came tumbling down. Although much of O’Brien’s vehicle was badly totaled, the elderly man miraculously survived the accident with only a head laceration.
Kojima was hit by falling debris and required nine staples to close the laceration on her head. She was returning from getting a cup of coffee when she was struck by the debris from the crane collapse.
“I totally got hit by something, it’s hard to describe, it was really painful,” Kojima said about the accident.
Video of the crane collapse was captured by a bystander who was working on the 30th floor of a nearby building. TMZ has video of the New York crane collapse accident posted here.
The construction crane involved in the accident was roughly 565 feet long, or about as long as a city block. Jesse Natale was a bystander to the accident, who had luck on his side today. He said he witnessed the entire accident unfold as he sat at a nearby stoplight.
“If I caught that light, I’d be dead probably. It looked like an avalanche — or that the roof was caving in from the snow.”
Construction work was halted on the building the crane was working on Thursday, due to high winds near 20 to 25 miles per hour. Operators had decided to lower and secure the crane against high winds, when the accident occurred.
Mayor Bill deBlasio said, “They were in the process of securing the crane… actually preparing to bring it down, to secure it. Thank God we didn’t have more injuries and lose more people. It’s something of a miracle that there was not more of an impact.”
The New York City mayor explained that the area near the crane had already been partially cleared of people and traffic so the construction crew could lower and secure the crane. It’s likely the impact of the accident would have been much worse if the area had not already been cleared in advance.
[Photo credit: Getty Images/Bloomberg]