Crane Collapse Injures Five
A construction crane on the Tappan Zee Bridge toppled Tuesday afternoon, injuring five and interrupting traffic for hours on end.
“We don’t know exactly what caused the malfunction. Sometimes equipment breaks and sometimes accidents happen. As simplistic as that sounds sometimes that’s all there is to it.”
Seemingly at a loss for adequate words to describe the situation, Governor Cuomo stated the above, an oft-repeated maxim in the light of events such as these. Accidents do happen, but in the aftermath of this terrifying collapse, motorists and construction workers alike are left asking the same question: what happened?
Running parallel to the Tappan Zee Bridge is a new bridge, still under-construction and yet-to-be-unveiled. A crane assigned to construct this new bridge malfunctioned in some as-of-yet determined way and crashed across the currently-operating span. Luckily, the crane itself didn’t hit any cars. Injuries were sustained (3 motorists, 2 bridge workers) by cars swerving and braking abruptly to avoid the falling construction equipment.
Governor Cuomo was on-site to make his remarks. He cited light traffic as the reason more injuries weren’t suffered. He noted that, all things considered, it could’ve been much worse.
Though traffic was an instant nightmare. All lanes were closed, causing major delays in both directions. Many motorists, though uninjured, were left trapped on the bridge in the hours following the incident.
A temporary traffic solution emerged: In Rockland, cars were sent from Interstate 87 onto the Palisades Interstate Parkway and all trucks were diverted at Exit 12. Something else to consider: Governor Cuomo made a statement saying the bridge would be closed for as long as was necessary to determine that no serious structural damage was inflicted to infrastructure of the bridge. He stressed that it was important to make certain that the bridge itself was safe for motorists, even after the wreckage was cleared. The bridge is over fifty years old, and thorough, diligent inspections will be necessary to perform, before it’s clear that the bridge is still in 100% working order having suffered this blow.
According to the New York State Thruway Authority, more than 130,000 motorists use the Tappan Zee Bridge daily.
The cause of the crane collapse is still being investigated.
Types of Crane Accidents
According to OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), there are many types of crane-related accidents. An official on-hand at the Tappan Zee Bridge had three guesses as to what could’ve potentially been responsible for Tuesday’s collapse.
- The crane itself might have internally malfunctioned, or experienced mechanical complications of some kind.
- The vibratory hammer, which the crane was carrying at the time of the collapse, and is responsible for driving pilings into the ground, may’ve been to blame.
- As always, human error is always a possibility.
Here’s a partial list of other possible problems commonly associated with the use of cranes:
- On active construction sites, booms are liable to contact live electric wires, presenting electrocution hazards for construction workers and any motorists / pedestrians nearby. (This is the most common crane accident. Nearly half of all crane accidents are caused by electrification of the boom.)
- Mechanical error is an ever-present danger. Metal fatigue, faulty wiring, or other complications may sometimes arise, unforeseen.
- Crew members stationed in high stories, tasked with guiding items through windows or onto roofs, may be dragged from their locations, and are subject to injuries sustained from falls. Other injuries have been known to result due to improperly trained operators.
- High winds can cause a boom to tip. The higher the crane, the more catastrophic the potential resultant accident will be. Cranes servicing urban areas are likewise more likely to fall into high-volume pedestrian areas.
- An overload or miscalculation may cause a crane to tip and drop its content.
- The crane’s counterweight, a safety mechanism which works to prevent tilt, is dangerous in and of itself. Members of the construction crew are liable to be crushed if the counterweight detaches or falls in some other manner.
- Passers-by or construction workers struck by swinging boom may be knocked from a height or injured by the original blunt force trauma.
Kaplan Lawyers PC
Kaplan Lawyers PC is New York’s preeminent vehicular accident law firm. Crane collapses may be rare, but auto accidents are alarmingly commonplace. From rear-ends, to T-bones or other cross-traffic accidents, to merge-related clippings, Kaplan Lawyers PC has got you covered. If you’ve been injured in a car accident of any sort, do not hesitate. Contact us today to schedule your free and easy consultation. Car accidents may happen every day, but we never treat our clients’ cases like a routine occurrence. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we care about the people we represent. We will help analyze the facts of your incident and will build a strong foundation for your case.