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Company, crane operator linked to history of safety violations

July 31, 2023  By Associated Press

As authorities continue to investigate a crane collapse that rained thousands of pounds of steel debris onto a busy Manhattan thoroughfare, the owner and operator of the failed crane are facing scrutiny over past safety failures.

The tower crane, owned by New York Crane and Equipment Corp., was hoisting concrete to the 36th story of a luxury high-rise when a fire broke out in the machine’s cab, officials said. The flames burned through a cable holding the crane’s arm in place, sending the 180-foot-long boom crashing to the ground. Though no one was seriously hurt, the near catastrophe stirred memories of past crane collapses, including a series of incidents involving people connected to the accident.

Two of the city’s most disastrous crane collapses came over the span of two months in 2008, both involving cranes owned by New York Crane and Equipment Corp. Nine people died, pushing the city to overhaul its process of inspecting and regulating tower cranes. Later that year, a construction worker fell to his death while helping dismantle a crane owned by a different company. One of the two crane operators, whose license was suspended for eight months, was Chris Van Duyne. The same man was operating the crane that caught fire Wednesday, officials said.

(Associated Press/OHS Canada)

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