Top of New York City Crane Crashes into Street, Injuring Six

Smoke is visible after a construction crane caught fire on a high-rise building in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., July 26, 2023.

NEW YORK, July 26 (Reuters) – Six people were injured in New York on Wednesday when the top portion of a construction crane caught fire and crashed into a Manhattan street during the morning rush hour, authorities said.

Firefighters and rescue personnel arrived at the scene just as the crane fell, apparently responding to the blaze that had erupted in the cabin and caused it to topple.

The incident unfolded at about 7:30 the area of 10th and 11th avenues and West 41st and 42nd streets, near the Hudson Yards complex, the New York City Police Department said on the X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter.

The NYPD urged people to avoid the area, as emergency vehicles blocked the surrounding streets and snarled traffic through the nearby Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey.

Unverified video footage posted on social media showed the top section of the crane snapping, then grazing a nearby building as it fell to the street, along with a 16-ton load of concrete it was lifting. At the same time, thick, black smoke can be seen billowing from the crane’s cabin.

The six people who were injured included two firefighters.

All of them sustained minor injuries, authorities said.

“As you see from the debris on the street, this could have been much worse,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said during a press conference at the scene.

The crane operator, who was uninjured, tried to extinguish the fire before getting out of the cabin, fire officials said, but the heat weakened a cable that was helping support the arm of the crane, apparently causing it to buckle.

The contractors on the construction site of the 54-floor mixed-use building where the accident occurred had all of the required permits, city officials said.

In recent years, New York City has adopted more stringent safety measures for the towering cranes used to erect the massive buildings that define the skyline of the country’s most populous city.

Wednesday’s accident came 15 years after a crane collapsed in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan’s East Side, killing seven people. More recently, a crane collapsed in lower Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood in 2016, killing a pedestrian,injuring three others and crushing cars parked on the street.

REUTERS/Amr Alfiky
A view shows the damage after a construction crane caught fire on a high-rise building in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., July 26, 2023.