NEW YORK – The crane accident that sent a worker plummeting 40 stories to his death and injured three others occurred at a Donald Trump hotel-condominium tower recently cited for a series of violations.
Workers were using a crane while pouring concrete at the Trump SoHo complex Monday when one or more molds collapsed, sending wet concrete and debris flying.
Construction is being overseen by Bovis Lend Lease, the main contractor handling the dismantling of a former bank building across from ground zero that caught fire in August, killing two firefighters.
The city Buildings Department had issued several citations at the Trump site even before Monday's accident, including citations for two high-risk violations Oct. 26. One was for operating a crane in an unsafe manner and the other for failing to safeguard public property affected by construction operation, said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
A city panel was scheduled to hold a hearing on the citations Jan. 24, Stringer said.
"Why are we allowing this crane to operate when there's been no resolution to this violation?" Stringer said. "I find that very troubling."
Eight of the 11 citations went to Bovis Lend Lease, which received at least four additional citations in Monday's accident. The company was accused of failing to safeguard the public and property, maintain adequate housekeeping, and provide a fire escape hatch and adequate fire extinguishers.
The site wasn't in danger of collapsing further after Monday's accident, and the crane was stabilized, department officials said.
Trump's executive assistant, Rhona Graff, referred inquiries to Bovis Lend Lease.
Bovis spokeswoman Mary Costello said in a statement the company was investigating with the concrete subcontractor and working with authorities to determine the cause.
"Our hearts go out to the family of the deceased concrete worker, and our prayers are with the injured workers," the statement said.
Lucy Harris, who works on the seventh floor of a building next to the Trump site, said she heard debris hitting her building and went to a window.
"I looked down and saw the body of the person who fell covered in concrete," Harris said. "It was clear from the way one of the legs was bent that the person was either dead or severely injured, so I called 911."
The worker died at about 2 p.m., police said. The three others were taken to a hospital, two with serious injuries and one with minor injuries, fire department officials said. None of the workers has been identified.
The 42-story building is scheduled to open in 2009.
Bovis Lend Lease is also working on the Sept. 11 memorial and a transit hub at Ground Zero, among other projects.