A construction crane working on the new Winthrop-University Hospital diabetes research facility tipped over on Mineola Boulevard on Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 12:40 p.m. The driver of the crane escaped as it fell between the rising building and Souvlaki Stop, according to village and fire department reps.
He suffered minor injuries to his legs and back as he fled the cab and a bruise to his head, according to Winthrop officials.
Mineola Boulevard was closed from Old Country Road to Harrison Avenue all day. Authorities said the Mineola Fire Department, which was on call for a dumpster fire prior to the crane fall, arrived within minutes of the incident.
“The fire department was on scene, as well as emergency service units and we were coordinating everything between them, the police department and ambulance corps,” Mayor Scott Strauss said.
The collapsed crane was being repositioned at the site to another part of the construction area when it began to topple, according to authorities. The Bay Crane Company brought in additional cranes to remove the collapsed one. Two cranes were utilized: one to raise the fallen crane and a second to “counteract potential issues…fixed with counterweights to balance the working crane,” according to Winthrop spokeswoman Leanna Cherry.
“Cranes were on site and were able to right the [fallen] crane,” Cherry said.
The MFD’s Second Assistant Chief Brian Santosus was first on scene.
“We wanted to make sure the situation was stable before we sent our guys in there to assess the situation,” he said. “We want to make sure this situation is mitigated before we turn it over to the crane company.”
Strauss expected the site to be cleared by Thursday morning. The roads were clear as of 9 a.m.
“I was walking near Harrison and I heard a loud noise, like a banging or creaking sound,” resident Shelly Florent said, who was visiting friends nearby. “I’m happy no one was hurt, but that crane should have been secure.”
The crane had been installed at the site to work on the development of Winthrop’s $85 million, 95,000 square foot diabetes research facility. A bigger crane was previously at the site, installing girders on the structure.
As of press time, an investigation is ongoing. Mayor Strauss indicated an Occupational Safety and Health Administration review will be conducted.
“We’re not sure,” Strauss said. “An investigation will be conducted by a couple different regulatory agencies. The company here has had flag men around the crane keeping pedestrians away. There were no pedestrians. Thankfully it tipped toward the building and not toward the street.”
MFD Chief Jeffrey Clark said 75 Mineola firefighters responded to the scene. There was “slight damage to a basement area” near the site.
“We had tactical teams on site,” he said. “There was a quick response to get everything established. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the building structure was not damaged.”
Other responding departments included Manhasset-Lakeville, Port Washington, Rockville Centre and Hempstead.