Two construction workers were killed on Tuesday when a beam crashed on top of a crane’s operator cab in Queens.
Fire officials said that the beam trapped two workers who were working near 82nd Avenue and 134th Street in Briarwood, WABC-7 reported. The crane had been lifting a support beam when it became unstable, hit a building and then fell six stories onto the cab, a city official said.
“We do not know the cause yet,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We need to know of course right away, was it mechanical, was it human error. We don’t know yet.”
Officials have not yet released the names of the two workers killed. According to permit applications filed with the city’s Department of Buildings, the crane was being used for renovations at an apartment building at 81-10 134th Street. The DOB approved crane use on the site on Nov. 4.
It’s not yet clear if wind — a hot button issue in the city when it comes to crane use — played any part in Tuesday’s incident. In June, the city reintroduced a regulation that prevents crawler cranes from operating when wind speeds exceed 30 mph. The rule was part of a series of safety recommendations put in place after a crane collapse killed a 38-year-old pedestrian in Tribeca earlier this year. A crane operator was attempting to lower a crane when it crashed onto Ward Street. Wind speeds at the time were in excess of 20 mph, though the city hasn’t officially ruled on the cause of the accident.
In October, the Building Trades Employers Association filed a lawsuit against the city, seeking to block the regulation on operating when high winds are present. [WABC-7] — Kathryn Brenzel