Crane operator blamed for NY incident
Operator error has been blamed as the sole cause of the fatal crawler crane overturn in Manhattan in February.
The results of the in depth investigation by the Department of Buildings, published yesterday, has confirmed what most crane specialists already knew – the luffing jib was lowered with the main boom at too low an angle, - causing the crane to lose stability in the windy conditions. The crane overturned with its boom and jib landing in the street killing David Wichs, 38. The investigation also reveals that the crane operator, Kevin Reilly, should have stowed the jib and secured the crane the night before – especially given the weather forecasts. See large crawler crane overturns in New York
As a result the City has suspended Reilly’s license and filed a case to revoke it permanently. Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “Our actions following this tragedy have made New Yorkers safer. Today’s report furthers this effort and will help shape new legislation to prevent future crane accidents. I thank everyone who worked so hard to get us to this point, including the Crane Safety Technical Working Group, our partners in the City Council, industry experts, and the Department of Buildings. The city is safer because of their work.”
The investigation also confirmed that the Liebherr crane owned by Bay Crane was in perfect working order and functioning correctly at the time. In May Wichs’ widow Rebecca, filed a $600 million lawsuit against the city, while Thomas O'Brien, 73, was looking to sue the city for $30 million for the head injuries he sustained in the incident.
Construction workers on an upper floor of the building the crane was working on captured the scene on video: