New York District Attorney Investigating Crane Collapse as Crime

The Manhattan district attorney is investigating whether a crime occurred when a massive crane collapsed last week in New York killing two construction workers.

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau wants to know if the city's Buildings Department ordered replacement or repair work for a turntable that connects the boom to the carriage of the crane, reports.

Meanwhile, a wake was held for a man who was killed during the collapse as forensic investigators surveyed the wreckage for the accident's cause.

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About 200 relatives and friends of the 30-year-old crane operator, Donald Leo, gathered at the Hanley Funeral Home on Staten Island Sunday for his wake, including his fiancee, Janine Belcastro. They had planned to wed in late June.

"We were looking forward to going to the wedding," said Adriana Lusterino in Monday editions of the Daily News. "It's tragic."

Jay Plachinski, a correction officer who played with Leo in high school, told The New York Times in Monday editions that Leo was "the ultimate blue-collar guy."

Belcastro left the funeral without speaking to reporters, surrounding by a small group of women.

Meanwhile, emergency crews worked Sunday to stabilize a Manhattan apartment building damaged in the deadly crane collapse that also killed another construction worker.

About a dozen residents and others said a short prayer and observed a moment of silence at a vigil Sunday evening for those killed, hurt and forced from their homes by Friday's accident, the city's second fatal crane collapse in 2 1/2 months.

Click here video on efforts to secure the collapse site.

Click here for video showing an eyewitness describing the collapse.

Rafi Aharon left his apartment building with his 7-year-old son, Roy, less than a minute before part of the 200-foot crane smashed into the building Friday, the father said.

"It was very scary," Aharon, 40, said at the vigil, held about a block from the Upper East Side accident site.

Besides Leo, the crane collapse also killed another construction worker and quickened criticism of the city's embattled Department of Buildings, already under fire over a recent series of fatal construction accidents.

The agency said it had begun a forensic investigation into what went wrong, and the probe would include examining the crane parts.

Earlier Sunday, a cherry picker hoisted workers onto the damaged building's top floor to survey the wreckage as tourists and neighborhood residents watched.

Gina and Larry Bliss and daughters Lainie, 22 months, and Sadie, 5 months, who live in the damaged building, had been told they could go in Sunday morning to check on their belongings. But when they got to the police barricade surrounding the accident scene, they were told to come back later.

The Blisses said their 13th-floor apartment was not damaged by the crane, which crushed a penthouse and clawed through the balconies below it.

The family moved in a week before the accident and has no plans to leave. "As long as the building's safe, we're going back," Gina Bliss said. "We love the area."

The crane's cab popped off its mast during construction of a new condo tower on East 91st Street, 40 blocks north of the site where another crane collapse killed seven people on March 15.

Emily Schottland, who said she can see the construction site from her kitchen, said the accident did not surprise her, given the project's hectic pace.

"Within one day, they had put up two floors," she said.

Friday's crane collapse added to string of accidents that have killed more than two dozen construction workers in the past year.

Developers, labor representatives, crane owners and others attended a closed-door meeting Saturday to discuss construction safety issues.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.