Tower crane rigger from collapse indicted

January 05, 2009 02:01PM

The Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau indicted the tower crane rigger company and the company’s owner involved in the deadly crane collapse in Manhattan on March 15, 2008.

Williams Rapetti and his company, Rapetti Rigging Services, have been indicted on charges of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault, reckless endangerment and failure to file tax returns, and Rapetti faces up to 28 years in prison if found guilty.

The DA alleges that while Rapetti Rigging Services was increasing the height of a tower crane at 303 East 51st Street, a steel collar fell when slings holding it snapped. The 12,000-pound collar crashed at the ninth floor of the building, which caused the entire crane to Fall Over And Hit An Apartment Building Across The Street, and completely demolish a townhouse on East 50th Street.

Morgenthau’s investigation revealed that one of the slings that snapped was allegedly already damaged, and Rapetti would have known that if he had properly inspected the sling as mandated by the city Building Code. In addition, the slings were allegedly tied to the crane in a weak knot, and were tied around a sharp metal edge of the crane tower without any protective padding, another violation of the city’s building code. Rapetti had also failed to follow the crane manufacturer’s instructions that the collar be supported by eight slings, not four, the DA found.

Seven people were killed and three injured in the accident. TRD