Crane collapses on lanes of Tappan Zee Bridge in NYC suburbs


NEW YORK (AP) — A giant construction crane toppled off the new Tappan Zee Bridge being constructed north of New York City and collapsed across the busy span it is replacing, halting traffic Tuesday afternoon on the key suburban highway crossing.

No cars were hit by the crane’s arm as it came down around noon, but Rockland County Executive Ed Day wrote on Twitter that three people suffered minor injuries when vehicles swerved and stopped to avoid the wreckage.

Video from a news helicopter showed at least one person being removed from a car and loaded into an ambulance.

The base and treads of the huge, moveable crane sat on the unfinished new bridge across the Hudson River between Westchester and Rockland counties. Part of the toppled crane lay across the lanes of the old bridge. Another section lay across a construction platform in the water between the two spans.

Several boats carrying emergency workers were maneuvering in the river around the collapsed crane arm, while other workers appeared to be scanning the water around the wreck.

Rockland County had a helicopter and marine unit at the scene, according to Day. The county executive wrote on Twitter that the crane operator was shaken but not hurt.

The new Tappan Zee Bridge has been under construction for three years and is expected to be completed by 2018 at an expected cost of $3.9 billion. It is being built alongside the original, seven-lane Tappan Zee span, which dates to 1955.

In March, a 90-foot tugboat sank after it hit a construction barge near the bridge site, killing three crew members.

In 2013, a powerboat plowed into a construction barge at the bridge, killing a bride-to-be and her fiance’s best man. The boat’s driver, who had nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system, pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to two years behind bars. The victims’ families, however, attributed the crash mainly to bad lighting on the barge.