THIS is the horrifying moment a crane collapsed on to parked cars, killing at least one person and leaving two others fighting for life, according to The Sun. David Wichs, 38, was walking on the busy New York street when the massive crane plummeted around 200ft during a snowstorm. A source close to his devastated family said: “He was a wonderful, wonderful person.”
The 20-storey-high crane was being lowered as a precaution due to high winds when it plunged on to a line of parked motors, damaging two nearby buildings as it fell. Two people were taken to a hospital with serious injuries, while a fireman was also hospitalised, the New York City Fire Department confirmed.
Another person was trapped in a crushed vehicle but authorities revealed they have been rescued. Harvard graduate Wichs was born in the Czech Republic and moved to the US as a teenager before studying for a degree in mathematics. He worked at financial trading firm Tower Research Capital.
A man who identified himself as the family’s rabbi told the New York Daily News: “He was a wonderful, wonderful person. He was the best, the absolute best, and that’s what makes this tragedy that much greater.” Wich’s sister-in-law Lisa Guttman called him “the most special person ever”. She added: “He really created a life for himself. He literally took every opportunity he could find.”
The two casualties taken to hospital have been identified as Dawn Kojima, 45, and Thomas O’Brien, 73. Dawn sustained a leg injury while both suffered cuts to the head. Debris littered the street after the tragedy unfolded at around 8.30am in the Tribeca area of Manhattan. In the clip, which was filmed on a mobile phone, the crane can be seen gaining momentum as it is lowered before it loses control and plunges 200ft, hitting the ground with a loud thud.
Glenn Zito, who recorded the footage, can be heard saying: “It’s moving fast now, he’s dropping it really quick.” Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “Thank God it was not any worse. It’s something of a miracle that there wasn’t more impact.” One local, Sal Cangeloso, uploaded a photo on Twitter of the huge crane towering over the New York skyline last week.
He wrote: “Picture I took last week of the TriBeCa crane outside of 60 Hudson #cranecollapse”. Jesse Natale, a 26-year-old civil engineer from Westfield, New Jersey, said he was waiting at nearby traffic lights when the crane came crashing down. He told the Daily News: “If I caught that light, I’d be dead probably.
“It looked like an avalanche — or that the roof was caving in from the snow” Firefighters also helped a bride make her wedding on time after she was caught at a beauty salon when the crane fell. Pictures have emerged of Kuvanya Pila, 21, being escorted through the wreckage after getting her hair done with her mum and sister before her wedding at City Hall.
She said: “When it dropped, we could hear the place shake. It was just scary, because things have been scary since 9/11.” One bystander told CBS Local: “I couldn’t believe it. The other day I was just thinking I hope this doesn’t fall and then it happened. It bounced off two buildings and crushed every single car on that block.”
Another eyewitness told ABC7: “I didn’t know what was happening because it was happening so fast. “I could hear the bending of metal. I think it hit the side of the building.” More than 100 firefighters have responded to the scene along with dozens of other emergency service workers.
Blair Steele, 29, was on her way to work when she saw the crane on the ground. She said: “I couldn’t even see all the way to the other end. Everyone was in shock. Even the police that were here were totally shocked.” A badge on the crane showed the logo for Bay Crane, a company that owns a second crane that collapsed 30 floors in New York last year.
It is unclear what caused the plane to collapse this morning, but Storm Team 4 claims weather conditions are unlikely.