Sunday, January 27, 2013

This Day In History - 1998 Crane Crash Into Roosevelt Island Tram

According to a NY Times report of the incident:
A construction crane working on the Queensboro Bridge slammed into a Manhattan-bound car of the Roosevelt Island tramway yesterday morning, terrifying commuters for a few tense moments as they feared that the wildly swinging car might plunge into the icy waters of the East River, 240 feet below.

The 8:50 A.M. accident, in which 11 of the 20 people aboard suffered minor injuries, was the third in four months involving construction at the bridge; one worker was killed there in September....
The January 12, 2002 Main Street WIRE reported:
The first of the personal-injury cases stemming from the Tram-crane collision of January 24, 1998, was settled this week on the eve of a jury trial.

Manhattan Park resident George Reither was awarded $700,000....
and:
... Reither sustained injuries to his neck that ultimately required the fusing of several vertebrae and surgical implant of a metal support. His medical costs approached $100,000.

“It isn’t worth it,“ Reither said Wednesday, weighing six months of lost time, “horrendous surgery,” and a stiff neck that makes driving and other ordinary activities more difficult than before.

Recalling the accident, Reither said, “I was standing in the back of the Tram, in the southeast corner, and all of a sudden I heard a crunch. I tried to hold on as the cabin started to tip, but I went flying backwards. I noticed that I hurt my elbow. I don’t know if I broke my elbow then, but I did break it.” The plexiglas window next to Reither was dislodged and lost during the event. Reither thinks his elbow may have done it.

”I wound up landing in the middle of the Tram, probably about eight to ten feet from where I was initially, on my back, toward the center where the doors are....
Click here for full article.

More on the 1998 Tram Crane Crash from WIRE articles here and here.

A Roosevelt Island resident recently expressed concern regarding the construction of this building

Photo Taken From Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin

going up adjacent to Roosevelt Island Tram on 6oth street

Photo Taken From Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin
And the best question -- how close is "too close" ?

The Solow apartment building going up on east 60th street between First Avenue and York Avenue appears to be climbing in height till we can reach out and touch it -- or until the crane touches the north tram cabin ( which would not be the first time a crane and tram cabin had contact -- remember the FDR Drive project ?)

What assurances do RIOC and Poma have that all possible safety precautions are being taken during construction, and that this particular cabin will be safe ?

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