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Debris rains down from 85-story Midtown Manhattan skyscraper after crane spins out of control

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Debris rains down from 85-story Midtown Manhattan skyscraper after crane spins out of control and strikes building amid strong winds

  • The crane, attached to an 85-story luxury apartment tower on West 57th Street near Sixth Avenue, began malfunctioning just before 7pm amid high winds
  • There were no immediate reports of injuries, but footage recorded by bystanders showed large pieces of debris falling down from the building
  • Around 30 FDNY units with a total of 110 members reported to the scene, and began attempts to stabilize the crane immediately
  • Witnesses suggested the crane was rotating out of control because of strong winds in the region brought on by the inclement in weather
  • The building, called The Steinway Tower, is currently under construction along ‘billionaire’s row’, with its apartments going for more than $30 million 

By Luke Kenton For Dailymail.com

Published: | Updated:

A crane began spinning dangerously out of control atop a Midtown Manhattan skyscraper on Thursday night, striking the building and causing debris to rain down on the streets below.

The crane, attached to an 85-story luxury apartment tower on West 57th Street near Sixth Avenue, began spinning wildly amid high winds and heavy rain just before 7pm.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, but footage recorded by bystanders showed large pieces of debris falling down from the building, having been knocked loose by the crane.

Sparks were seen flying as the debris struck the rigging beneath the crane before plummeting to the street below.

Photographs captured by DailyMail.com show several pieces of metal debris, approximately eight foot in length, laying on the sidewalk and in the middle of the street.  

The crane, attached to an 85-story luxury apartment tower on West 57th Street near Sixth Avenue, began malfunctioning just before 7pm amid high winds

There were no immediate reports of injuries, but footage recorded by bystanders showed large pieces of debris falling down from the building, having been knocked loose by the crane

Witnesses suggested the crane was rotating out of control because of strong winds in the region caused by remnants of Hurricane Zeta, which is currently lashing the Gulf Coast 

Around 30 FDNY units with a total of 110 members reported to the scene and immediately began attempts to stabilize the crane.

‘FDNY members are operating on scene of a crane incident at 111 W. 57th Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan,’ the department tweeted just after 8pm. ‘There is no crane collapse – there was fallen debris. There are no injuries at this time.’ 

Witnesses suggested the crane was rotating out of control because of strong winds in the region caused by remnants of Hurricane Zeta, which is currently lashing the Gulf Coast. 

US Crane and Rigging, a company that installs the construction equipment in New York City, told NBC4 that the crane was the ‘tallest freestanding crane in NYC’s history, at 220 feet.’

Bystander Michael Illescash told the NY Daily News the crane’s boom came untethered amid the pouring rain and racing winds.

‘Everybody was running, and when I looked up, the crane was spinning. It was spinning in circles and it was ripping off pieces of the building,’ the 29-year-old said.

‘Its hook was ripping off pieces of the building. All the pieces, big metal pieces, were coming down.’

He added, ‘It was hitting metal with sparks and everything. Every time it hit the metal, we had to run inside.’ 

Several pieces of debris laying in the middle of the street. A cluster of metal debris 

Witnesses suggested the crane was rotating out of control because of strong winds in the region brought on by an inclement in weather

Authorities have blocked off the area between 55th and 59th streets and Madison and Eighth Avenues while they work at the scene

Another pile of debris is seen laying in the road in a photograph taken by DailyMail.com

The building, called The Steinway Tower, is currently under construction along the Big Apple’s ‘Billionaire’s row’ stretch of high-rises. Apartments in the building go for more than $30 million. 

Authorities have blocked off the area between 55th and 59th streets and Madison and Eighth Avenues while they work at the scene. 

Officials told the public to avoid the area and expected traffic delays and further road closures. Others in the vicinity were instructed to stay inside.

Subway riders were also told to expect delays and route changes. F trains began bypassing the 57th Street station in both directions, while N, Q and R trains bypassed the 57th Street-7th Avenue stations in both directions.

The city Buildings Department has sent inspectors to the scene to investigate.

The incident comes exactly eight years to the day after a different crane on a high-rise along the same block collapsed during Hurricane Sandy. 

During that 2012 incident, the crane was near the top of 157 57th Street, another tower along Billionaires’ row’.

The crane was left precariously dangling over the street until the severe superstorm passed, and workers were able to secure it. 

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