A multi-story construction crane collapsed in Mineola Wednesday afternoon, injuring its operator and closing off Mineola Boulevard to traffic for much of the day.
The crane was in operation at the new Winthrop University-Hospital Diabetes Research Center facility currently being built at Mineola Boulevard and Second Street. It was operating in the northeast corner of the site when at 12:40 p.m. when it began to tip over, ultimately falling into the construction site.
The operator of the crane sustained injuries in his neck and back, not from the initial tipping over of the crane, but from “jumping out of the crane” according to Mayor Scott Strauss. “He climbed down, he injured himself, he’s at Winthrop now.”
In a statement from Winthrop, a spokesperson said that “at the time of the accident, the crane was being repositioned to a new location on the site. There were no serious injuries and there is no damage to the building or any surrounding buildings. The crane operator, who walked away under his own power, complained of a slight bruise on his head and is being evaluated at Winthrop as a precaution.”
There were no other serious injuries reported. The sidewalk on the western side on Mineola Boulevard had been closed since the crane had been brought to the scene. The exact circumstances of the accident were not determined at this time.
The crane’s fall caused damage to the basement area of the building according to Mineola Fire Department Chief Jeffrey Clark.
Multiple fire departments responded to the scene, including Manhasset-Lakeville and Port Washington. Police, fire and ambulance personnel have closed off Mineola Boulevard between Second Street and Harrison Avenue and as far south as Old Country Road to traffic.
Strauss said that the Bay Crane company, who owns and operates the crane, has brought in other equipment to pull the crane upright. The company was hired by Lend Lease, the general contractor for the facility.
“Hopefully within the next several hours Mineola Boulevard will be open again for traffic,” Strauss said.
The crane has been in operation at the site for several weeks to install wall paneling, being moved from one corner of the site to another in order to help build the new $95-million research facility. Previously a 100-ft. tall crane was used to raise the steel girders used to frame the building.
The exact circumstances of the accident could be released in a few months after investigators determine a cause, according to Strauss, who added that there had not been a construction accident of this type in Mineola previously.