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Woman Struck By Falling Metal In Boston's North End

BOSTON (CBS) -- A woman in her 30s sustained critical injuries when she was apparently struck by a falling metal railing while walking on a sidewalk on Atlantic Avenue around 8:30 Thursday morning.

Witnesses say she was walking with her husband and her dog when it happened.

railing falls north end
A view of the missing railing that fell onto a woman on Atlantic Avenue in the North End Thursday. (Photo credit: Beth Germano - WBZ-TV)

"People were yelling, 'Be careful,' it just happened so fast," said witness Reyes Montoya.

Surveillance video captures the woman walking on the sidewalk, then seconds later, she's surrounded by people trying to help her. Many ran into a nearby gym to grab towels to help in the effort.

Boston Police said the woman was in critical but stable condition Thursday night.

Investigators are trying to determine if the railing was hit by equipment suspended from a crane, dislodging it and knocking it to the ground.

"We'll make sure appropriate permits were obtained and the work was conducted in a safe manner," said Boston Inspectional Services Commissioner Dion Irish.

Sources confirm to WBZ-TV that Corolla Roofing, of Winthrop, has been doing the job for the past week and had a permit for roof and repair work. OSHA has cited the company at least five times in the last six years for safety violations.

"My heart goes out to the woman involved in the terrible event this morning in the North End, and I pray she will be OK," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. "There is currently a full investigation underway by city and federal agencies to get to the bottom of what happened."

At Boston Sail Loft restaurant next door to the accident scene owner Jamie Tipping says the sidewalk is full of pedestrians any time of the day, and many of his employees had arrived shortly after the accident.

"We were fortunate on our end it wasn't any of our people. But that doesn't minimize the issue because of the poor woman, her family, and all the people affected by it. I feel very bad, it's tragic," said Tipping.

A photo shared by a Twitter user shows ambulances on the scene by Commercial Wharf East, next to a crane. Roof repairs have been ongoing at the building for a couple of weeks.

Boston police homicide detectives and OSHA are among the several agencies investigating how the accident happened.

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