Crane Crash Kills 4 in Manhattan

At least 4 people trapped; several buildings damaged
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2008 3:25 PM CDT
New York City first responders remove a victim of a crane collapse to an awaiting ambulance, in New York, Saturday, March 15, 2008.   (AP Photo/Frances Roberts)
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(Newser) – A gigantic crane collapsed in Manhattan today, killing four and putting several others in critical condition as it smashed into nearby buildings, Newsday reports. The crane was about 19 stories tall and demolished at least one building entirely. Police have swarmed the area as emergency crews try to rescue people from crushed buildings on East 51st Street between First and Second avenues.

The owner of the on-site construction company, Reliance Construction Group, called it "an absolute freak accident. All the piece of steel had to do was fall slightly left or right, and nothing would have happened." He added that Reliance subcontracted work to other companies and did not manage the crane. Witnesses reported an explosion after the crash and a strong smell of gas in the area.