UPDATED: Crane activity halted after Tribeca collapse kills one, injures three

Accident occurred at 8:30 a.m. outside 60 Hudson Street
By The Real Deal | February 05, 2016 12:13PM

UPDATED: Feb. 5 12:13 p.m. All crane activity came to a halt on Friday following a crane collapse that killed one person and injured three others outside 60 Hudson Street in Tribeca, authorities said. 

The 15-story crane plummeted at 8:30 a.m. on the corner of West Broadway, covering more than a city block, the New York Times initially reported. Police identified the man killed as David Wichs, 38, of Manhattan. The crane operator, Kevin Reilly, 56, was trying to lower the crane due to winds approaching 25 mph when it fell, Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press conference at the site.

“This incident occurred literally as they were lowering the crane to secure it,” the mayor said. “We’ve lost a life, but if you go out there on the street as I did and see what happened here, thank God it was not worse.”

The mayor also announced a citywide bar on crane activity for the day. He ordered that 376 crawler cranes and 43 tower cranes be secured immediately. The DOB inspected the crane at 6:20 a.m. on Thursday and cleared it for the next phase of work on the site. Galasso Trucking and Rigging is listed in DOB records as the crane operator, and Bay Cranes is the owner. Neither could immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

The crash caused some gas leaks, and buildings that were hit by the equipment were evacuated, the mayor said. Con Edison shut down gas in all buildings along Worth Street between West Broadway and Church Street, and the area is expected to be closed off to traffic for several days. Police said that the DOB is investigating the incident.

The crane collapse occurred outside 60 Hudson Street, which is owned by the Stahl Organization, Williams Real Estate and Meyer Equities. Applications with the Department of Buildings show that crane use was approved for the site on January 12. Permits were approved in October for renovations on the third, sixth and 24th floors. The mayor said the crane — which had a 565-foot boom and a capacity of 330 tons — was being used to replace air conditioners and generators on the building’s roof. The base of the mobile crane was located at 60 Hudson and fell east along Worth Street.

Stahl did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Bill Farrell, a spokesman for the International Union of Engineers Local 14, said that Reilly is a member of the organization. DOB records indicate that he has a class B hoisting machine operator license, which means that he can operate all cranes in New York City regardless of height.

This is the first fatal crane collapse in the city since 2008, de Blasio said. Seven people were killed in Turtle Bay at the site of HFZ’s Halcyon condos at 303 East 51st Street. Developers later scaled the height for that building down, from 500 feet to 360 feet. Just last year 10 people were injured a crane collapsed at Sapir Organization’s 261 Madison in May. Bay Cranes owned the crane involved in that incident as well.
Correction: An earlier version of this report, citing news articles, said the man killed had been a construction worker at the site and that the injury count was higher. Officials have since lowered the injury tally.