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Stop Work Order Issued After Spinning Crane Sends Large Slabs Of Metal Falling Onto Midtown Street

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A full stop work order has been issued for a high-rise under construction in Manhattan after metal debris from a crane came crashing down onto the street Thursday.

It was a chaotic Friday morning in Midtown full of rain, wind, heavy traffic and locals confused about how to get home. Much of the neighborhood was still blocked off around the scene at 57th Street and Sixth Avenue.

"We saw people running some places, all the directions," witness Mario Cruz told CBS2.

Restaurant manager Ghani Elmardi was installing plastic around his outdoor dining table on Sixth Avenue when, all of a sudden, big slabs of metal came crashing down feet away from him.

"We heard a huge crash, thought it was an explosion of some sort," he said. "We got some of the dust from the broken glass, like, hit us on the back. That's why we turned around because with the crash and the debris kind of sweeping at your feet, we turned around and we saw the whole thing just laying down there."

Authorities said it was caused by a loose cable on a spinning crane atop the 84-story building.

"There was a tower crane. That a cable was hanging from the boom that was a little lower than it should have been, and it was spinning around and hitting the building and knocking debris down into the street," FDNY Assistant Chief John Hodgins said. 

According to the Department of Buildings it is normal for a crane to spin in these weather conditions to keep it stable.

Video taken Friday showed the crane static with a cable dangling. It's unclear if that was the cable that caused the damage.

"Our technical engineers are back on scene today, working to determine exactly how this incident occurred, and who is responsible for this serious safety lapse. New York City has the strongest crane regulation in the country in place to protect the public, and an incident like this is unacceptable," a DOB spokesperson told CBS2 in a statement. "We have stopped all work at the project, except operations to secure the site and make it safe."


What is clear is that many New Yorkers were startled by the incident.

"Awful, scary. We got enough scary stuff going on," one person told CBS2's John Dias.

"I'm just happy I wasn't outside," neighbor MK Larson said.

Larson just moved to the city two months ago, never thinking she would have to worry about a scene like this.

"It's not really what I'm concerned about when I'm walking down the street, but I guess I'm going to keep an eye out," she said.


No one was injured in the incident, and authorities say the crane is now secured. However, some debris is still dangling from the side of the building, so at least two streets will remain blocked off in the area, because that's how far the debris could travel.

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