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Manhattan Crane Accident Highlights Dangers

Only last week this blog did an overview of cranes and crane accidents. In that piece we commented that when a crane accident does not cause serious injury or death it garners quite a bit of news because usually when the rare crane accident does occur the consequences are severe. We here at Block O'Toole & Murphy are pretty good at reading the tea leaves but we are most definitely not soothsayers.

Still, yesterday a drill crane tipped over in the middle of midtown Manhattan. The Crane, a Casagrande B175 XP, was part of the construction of a 38 story hotel, the Virgin Hotel, that is expected to open next year. The posh hotel is owned by billionaire Richard Branson.

The crane 's boom unexpectedly and violently struck a police traffic van during morning rush-hour traffic. The Crane which weighs more than 150,000 pounds, was driving up a ramp into a construction site on Broadway near W. 30th St., one of Manhattan's most congested areas. The crane fell backwards and crashed down on top of the van in the middle of the street. The massive crane boom reached the opposite side of the street and narrowly missed striking a female pedestrian. The thundering crash gripped the busy neighborhood immediately. Amazingly the only casualty was the police van. There were no reported injuries. This frightening accident certainly underscores the perils associated with crane work in crowded cities and on congested streets. News of the accident and that no one was seriously injured was widely reported in the media. Sometimes, safe outcomes do sell.

There will be a thorough investigation into the circumstances of this accident. Typically, when a crane overturns or collapses it is the result of the load being improperly secured or excessive in weight. It may also be the result of the crane being operated on uneven ground. Details of the accident are still emerging and it is not clear whether this crane was carrying a load at the time of the accident. There are other potential causes of crane accidents and investigators have yet to indicate any of their findings. Stay tuned for that.

Block O'Toole & Murphy is a law firm that is committed to fighting on behalf of construction workers and their families. The lawyers at this firm have been fortunate enough to recover more than $850 million in verdicts and settlements for their clients. You may learn more about the lawyers, the firm and the work that they have done on behalf of construction workers by reviewing the firm website You may also contact them at any time for a free consultation by calling 212.736.5300.

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