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One killed as crane collapses on to parked cars in Manhattan street

Published 05/02/2016

The crane landed across several parked cars in Lower Manhattan
The crane landed across several parked cars in Lower Manhattan

One person has died and two others are seriously injured after a crane collapsed on to parked cars in New York City.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the crane was being lowered as a precaution because of high winds when the accident occurred in the Tribeca neighbourhood of Manhattan, about 10 blocks north of the World Trade Centre.

"Thank God we didn't have more injuries and lose more people," he said.

The crane landed across a junction and stretched down much of a block. There was damage to the roof of a nearby building, and debris littered the street.

Robert Harold, who works at the Legal Aid Society, said: "It was right outside my window. It was a crashing sound. You could feel the vibration in the building."

Mr Harold said at least one victim was trapped in a car, and he saw onlookers trying to get the person out. He also saw a person lying motionless in the street.

Mr de Blasio said the person killed was sitting in a parked car. He added that none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

Officials are working to determine why the crane fell. The company identified by officials as the crane operator was Galasso Trucking.

Nearby buildings were evacuated, and officers told people arriving for work that they should go home.

All 376 mobile cranes registered with the city, as well as all 43 of the larger tower cranes, were ordered into secure positions.

City building inspectors had been at the site on Thursday because the boom was being extended further on to the roof, Mr de Blasio said.

Buildings commissioner Rick Chandler said inspectors found no problems with the crane at the time.

The man who died was reported to be a Harvard-educated immigrant from eastern Europe.

Lisa Guttman said her brother-in-law David Wichs was "the most brilliant person ever".

She said Mr Wichs was born in Prague, moved to the US as a teenager and took every opportunity he could, graduating with a degree in maths from Harvard University.

Ms Guttman said Mr Wichs worked at the New York-based computerised financial trading firm Tower Research Capital.

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