DOB blames crane operator for fatal Tribeca crash

Agency is seeking to revoke his license

TRD New York /
Dec.December 09, 2016 06:20 PM

The collapsed crane on Worth Street in Tribeca (credit: FDNY)

The city is seeking to permanently strip crane operator Kevin Reilly of his license after finding that he made a series of mistakes that led to the fatal crane collapse in Tribeca in February.

The Department of Buildings on Friday announced that two errors were the primary cause of the crash: Reilly failed to properly secure the crane the night before, and then the next day, had lowered the main boom of the crane at an improper angle, causing the machinery to plummet onto Worth Street. The collapse killed 38-year-old David Wichs.

The agency released a 247-page report on its investigation on Friday, seven months after the Feb. 5 incident. The agency’s report follows an earlier determination by the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration, which also found that Reilly was at fault. The city has suspended Reilly’s license and has filed a case to have it revoked permanently.

Reilly had tried to lower the crane while wind speeds exceeded 20 miles per hour, but he lowered it too far — at an unstable 70-degree angle, the report stated. The operator also should have lowered the crane to the ground the night before the incident, per the manufacturer’s manual. — Kathryn Brenzel

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