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Shannon Weidemann
Shannon Weidemann
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New York Crane Accident Kills Four

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A crane being used on a new building under construction in Manhattan collapsed today, killing four people. The crane fell onto a building across the street and completely destroyed it. Two buildings on either side were also damaged. At least 12 people were injured in the construction accident that drew over 300 rescue workers to the scene. The four victims are believed to be construction workers.

The cause of the accident on a sunny, windless day was unclear and under investigation by city, state and federal agencies. It occurred, the mayor said, as workers attempted to jack up the crane, raising its height to enable work to continue above the 19th floor of a planned 43-story building. The task of raising the crane had city permission, and the crane had been inspected on Friday, with no violations found.

The collapse happened about 2:22 p.m. as the crane, about 22 stories tall and attached by girders to an apartment tower under construction at 303 East 51st Street, east of Second Avenue, broke away from its anchors and toppled south, across the block between 51st and 50th Streets, as workers at the site and people in high-rise windows for blocks around looked on, stupefied.

The city has had numerous fatal construction accidents already this year. The construction industry is under increased scrutiny and pressure for more safety standards. 14 violations have been issued to contractors working on the building that started construction in 2006. Rescue workers are still searching for people that may be trapped in the building.