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Woman Pinned As Crane Falls

May 30, 1985

NEW YORK (AP) _ A 50-ton crane at a midtown Manhattan construction site capsized as it lifted a load of steel Thursday, hurling a pedestrian onto the bank of a foundation pit and pinning her there, officials said.

The woman was conscious, but still trapped under the crane, two hours after the noontime accident. ″It’s kind of hard to tell″ her condition, said police Officer Tony Mangiaracina. ″She must be seriously injured.″

The officer spoke with the woman as rescuers worked feverishly to free her by lifting the crane. She told him, ″You take a walk out to lunch, you can never know what’s going to happen,″ Mangiaracina recounted.

Two other people at the scene, 63rd Street and Third Avenue, suffered minor injuries when the crane toppled just after noon, said Deborah Fong, a spokeswoman for the Emergency Medical Service. Midtown traffic was snarled and the Queensboro Bridge was closed westbound as rescue equipment was rushed in.

″The steel shot down, the boom of the crane fell down and the entire crane tipped over,″ said Mario Casanova, a construction worker who said he was 35 feet from the crane when it fell. ″It’s just one of those freak accidents.″

Mangiaracina said the crane knocked the woman onto a plywood fence ringing the pit and pinned her on the bank, 40 feet above the pit’s floor.

Frank LaTorre, who was across the street in a restaurant, said he ran over and saw the woman pinned under the crane from the knees up. ″She asked me to get her out. She seems like a nice lady,″ he said. ″I’m just hoping they do.″

The woman was walking past the crane, on the sidewalk, when the machine fell as it raised a load of reinforcing steel, said Richard Kielan, spokesman for Tishman Construction Co., which is building a 42-story apartment building at the site.

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