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Toll rises to seven in NYC crane collapse (3/18)

March 18, 2008
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The bodies of two construction workers and a woman from Miami were pulled from the rubble of a Manhattan crane collapse Monday, bringing to seven the number of people killed in Saturday's collapse.

The crane rose 19 stories and was attached to an apartment tower under construction when it broke away Saturday and toppled onto buildings as far as a block away. Workers had managed to move large pieces of the crane away by Monday.

Nearly two dozen others were injured, and at least six buildings were damaged when the crane came crashing down onto East 50th and 51st Streets.

Officials were investigating whether human or mechanical error led to the construction-site accident, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg described as among the city's worst.

City officials said the broken crane passed inspection Friday.

Investigators were focusing on a heavy-duty collar used to tie the crane to the building's side, including whether a series of hoists and nylon straps was strong enough to sustain its weight, Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster told the New York Times.

The city had answered 38 complaints and issued more than a dozen violations in the past 27 months to the construction site where a 43-story high-rise condominium was going up. None of the violations was related to the crane, Bloomberg said.

On Sunday, the Reliance Construction Group, the project's contractor, released a statement expressing sympathy to the families of the dead and injured and said it was cooperating with government investigators.

"We have already launched our own internal investigation to understand exactly what caused this tragedy and we believe it is prudent not to comment further at this time," the company said.

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