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Queens Construction Accident Kills Two

Investigators are still working to determine the exact cause of a construction accident in Queens where a crane operator and construction worker were killed by a falling steel beam. The accident occurred in the Briarwood neighborhood at the construction site for a new apartment complex. Preliminary investigations revealed a 6,500 pound I-shaped steel beam fell from four stories up, as it was being hoisted by a crane. The beam struck the cab of the crane, killing the operator inside before striking a worker on the ground.  By the time emergency services responded, both men, ages 47 and 43, were dead.

It was windy the day of the accident, which can make crane operations extremely hazardous. Though no official conclusions have been reached, investigators’ preliminary impression is that a failure of the crane’s rigging was the source of tragedy, not wind. The work site had no open violations, the crane operator had no history of violations, and the crane passed an inspection as recently as June.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the accident a tragedy at an unrelated news conference. Rick D. Chandler, the commissioner of the city’s Building Department, expressed similar dismay as he spoke from site of the accident the same afternoon, saying “These two gentlemen won’t be going home tonight, and we’re very, very sorry about that.”

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