This is the moment a worker narrowly escaped with his life when the construction crane he was operating caught fire, before collapsing and injuring 12 people on the Manhattan sidewalks.
The building equipment was attached to a luxury 47 story apartment building under construction on 41st Street and 10th Avenue near Hudson Yards, before a hydraulic fluid leak caused it to spark into flames.
It quickly collapsed and struck the side of another skyscraper before it smashed onto the sidewalk below along with the 16 tones of concrete it was carrying.
Video footage shows the moment the crane burst into flames, with a worker seen swiftly scrambling down a ladder to safety. As he makes his escape, fellow construction employees joke and begin to chant: ‘We don’t need no water let the motherf****r burn.’
The operator of the crane has been identified by the Department of Buildings as Chris Van Duyne, 62.
He was previously charged following a construction accident in 2008 where his co-worker fell 48 stories to his death and had his crane operating license suspended for eight months, New York Daily News revealed.
A worker managed to escape with his life when the construction crane he was on caught on fire before it collapsed and injured 12 people on the ground in New York City
Footage was captured of the moment the crane burst into flames as a worker miraculously made his way down to safety
The operator of the crane has been identified by the Department of Buildings as Chris Van Duyne, 62
A total of 12 people have been injured. Two victims are in a serious condition – including one of the two firefighters who are among the injured.
In the video, a worker on the construction site is heard saying ‘it’s on fire’ and ‘he’s coming down’ as his colleague Van Duyne makes his way down a ladder – with smoke seen billowing out the top of the burning crane.
An employee, who is recording the video, then says: ‘Oh s**** that s*** is coming off.’
The crane quickly ignites and a large red flame is seen burning. Staff on the site are heard chanting ‘the roof is on fire, we don’t need no water let the motherf***** burn.’
Another worker urgently asks someone to ‘go get the fire extinguisher’.
The video then pans to a view of the skyline and the crane is seen dangling above the sidewalk.
DailyMail.com first published an image of the shaken construction worker who was operating the crane before it burst in flames and collapsed.
Van Duyne tried to put out the fire but fled the cab once he realized the blaze was too large, according to co-workers who identified him on Wednesday morning.
He appeared shocked and shaken after the ordeal, and declined to comment when approached by a DailyMail.com reporter.
In the video, a worker on the construction site is heard saying ‘it’s on fire’ and ‘he’s coming down’ as his colleague makes his way down the burning crane
The employee on the crane fled using a stairwell of the construction site it was attached to
He tried to put out the fire but fled the cab once he realized the blaze was too large, according to co-workers who identified him on Wednesday morning
The crane he was inside collapsed and struck the side of another skyscraper before falling onto a rush-hour Manhattan street as terrified commuters ran for their lives.
The incident comes after Van Duyne was hit with administrative charges in 2008 alongside his brother James Van Duyne after Anthony Esposito, 48, fell and died on September 4 during the construction of Silverstein Towers at 600 West 42nd Street.
The pair had cut the guardrail of a work platform which was attached to the tower crane, a joint investigation between the Department of Investigations and Department of Buildings found.
Esposito, who was married with three kids, was helping the brothers dismantle the crane when he lost his footing and fell to his death.
He was wearing a safety harness but it was not attached.
Van Duyne and his brother were both charged with endangering public safety and violating city construction codes and fined $25,000 each.
They were both forced to complete 30 hours of DOB safety training.
Fellow construction worker, Richard Paz, told DailyMail.com that a cable hauling wet concrete up to the top of the building site overheated just before the fire.
The crane operator noticed that the mechanics had stopped working, he said, because a computer system shut it down when the cable started burning out.
It was at this point the worker realized there was an issue and got out of the cab.
Once it got to a point where he couldn’t extinguish the flames himself, he fled.
Fluid from the engine compartment leaked onto a heated metal plate, which sparked a flame and caused the crane to collapse on to an opposite residential skyscraper near Hudson Yards.
The cause of the flaming crane cab was reported by New York Daily News – who also said that the equipment’s permits and inspections were all up to date.
The blazing crane was attached to a luxury 47 story apartment building under construction at 550 10th Avenue, with the 16-tonnes of concrete it was carrying also smashed onto the street below.
It was seen striking the side of the 55-floor 555 10th Avenue apartment building opposite.
Terrifying video footage shot Wednesday morning showed the crane collapse and strike a glass residential skyscraper opposite – while people staying in nearby hotels and apartment blocks were quickly evacuated.
Pictured: The crane on fire. The fire heated up the cable of the crane, which was holding 16-tonnes of concrete, causing it to snap and trigger the collapse, FDNY deputy commissioner explained
A burning Manhattan construction crane is pictured collapsing and striking the side of a residential skyscraper on 10th Avenue, sending debris spraying onto the sidewalk below
The crane is seen collapsed on the street following the ordeal this morning
People covered in blood were stretchered into ambulances as screams rung out from construction workers and commuters on ground level, eyewitnesses said.
Over 200 firefighters rushed up to a nearby balcony and desperately battled the inferno – which blazed 500 feet above the Manhattan skyline this morning.
Disturbing photos obtained by Dailymail.com show the ruined terrace of the luxury New York City apartment tower which was struck by the burning construction crane.
Shattered glass littered the ground and metal beams were strewn across the roof of 555 10th Avenue near Hudson.
Planters filled with ornamental grass were also destroyed, with the soil once contained within them scattered across the luxurious deck of the building.
Much of its glass safety railing was also wrecked by the falling crane, offering a vertigo-inducing new vista for anyone working on the clean-up scene.
Several exterior windows of the tower were also smashed, although a building spokesperson said no-one inside had been injured.
Residents were evacuated and were not allowed back in until after 4pm ET.
The crane is owned by New Jersey-based Lomma, whose late founder James Lomma was ordered to pay $96 million to two construction workers killed when another of his cranes collapsed in 2008.
DailyMail.com has contacted Lomma Corp. for a comment on Wednesday’s collapse.
A worker said the clean up is likely to go into the night.
A large yellow crane to remove the destroyed cement mixer, boom and crane was waiting at the police line.
One worker said: ‘Our guys can’t remove the crane without the all clear.
‘It will likely take till tonight to clear the road and then we’ll remove the crane.
‘I can’t be sure how long that will take.
Firefighters are seen spraying water on the crane in a bid to stop the fire
The FDNY posted an image of their firefighters tackling the blaze this morning
A fire department worker gazes over the balcony of 555 10 Avenue towards Times Square on Wednesday afternoon
He added that most of the debris which exploded out of the cement bucket were rocks placed into the cement to enable the curing process.
Residents and workers in the area were seen running for their lives as the fiery crane blazed in the sky above them.
The dramatic incident sent debris spraying onto the streets – injuring multiple people below – while storefronts had their glass shattered.
The fire heated up the cable of the crane, which was holding 16-tonnes of concrete, causing it to snap and trigger the collapse, FDNY deputy commissioner explained.
Residents living with a view of the scene told DailyMail.com they heard screams from the construction workers at around 7.15am.
The fire then took hold and the top half of the crane collapsed at around 7:30am.
It broke off and smashed into 555 Ten, an apartment building across the street, then hit the ground.
The resident told DailyMail.com: ‘We saw stretchers and ambulances so there are injuries on the ground. The stores under have also had all their windows broken.
‘We’ve now been evacuated from our building.’
The Fire Department New York confirmed in a statement: ‘FDNY units are currently operating at a crane collapse and fire at 550 Tenth Avenue in Manhattan.’
Eric Adams was at the scene of the destruction this morning.
NYC Mayor’s Office said in a statement: ‘FDNY units are currently operating at a crane collapse and fire at 550 Tenth Avenue in Manhattan.
‘Please avoid the area of 10th Avenue and 11th Avenue from West 41 Street to West 42 Street. Please use alternate routes and expect traffic in the area.’
Adams said in a conference from 10th Avenue: ‘As you can see from the debris on the street, this could have been much worse.’
He said the city were fortunate that this didn’t happen at a busier time of day.
First deputy fire commissioner Joseph Pfeifer said: ‘At 7.25am this morning, we got a report of a fire in the engine compartment of the crane.
‘We’re talking about the engine compartment above the roof line, about 45 stories up.
‘As our fire units responded to the scene, it collapsed. The top part of the crane, the boom, and a 16-tonne load crashed to the ground.
‘At that point, we had injuries to civilians and firefighters but they were minor. We have four injuries to civilians, and two to our firefighters. Minor injuries.
‘Most of the fire has been extinguished, but presently we have a fifth-alarm fire assignment, over 200 firefighters at the scene.’
Pictured: Part of a building that was impacted by the crane’s collapse. Fluid from the engine compartment leaked onto a heated metal plate, which in turn sparked a flame and caused the crane to collapse on to an opposite residential skyscraper near Hudson Yards
This photo shows the damage inflicted of a terrace on 555 10th Avenue on Manhattan after it was struck by part of a burning crane on Wednesday morning
Planters and soil were strewn across the roof deck of the luxury 55-story tower, which was struck by a huge lump of burning metal after a hydraulic fluid leak caused the crane to catch fire
A view from the top of 555 10th Avenue towards 550 10th Avenue. It is the luxury 47-story condo tower that the crane was working on when it collapsed
Another snap shows shattered panes of glass on the exterior of the building. No-one inside was injured, but the tower was evacuated until around 4pm ET Wednesday
A construction worker described how he immediately evacuated his team from the deck and stairwell when he realized the fire broke out.
Irakli Klarje, who lives on the 39th floor of 5510 10th Street, said that he thought there was an earthquake when he first heard the noise on Wednesday.
‘The building shook, so I thought an earthquake was happening.
‘I thought, what the hell is going on.’
He said he saw the huge plumes of black smoke from the crane – and then he called 911.
People staying in hotels nearby also said they were evacuated because of the inferno.
Heidi Elmore wrote on Twitter: ‘Welcome to New York. Crane next to my hotel is on fire and collapsing so we had to evacuate.’
The debris is seen spewing on to the streets of Hudson Yards on Wednesday morning
The crane was seen ablaze from other parts of Manhattan
Videos shared by the FDNY showed firefighters on the balcony of a nearby building spraying the burning crane in a bid to put out the flames.
550 10th Avenue – the building that the crane was attached to – is a luxury rental tower consisting of 453 homes.
The 47-story tower is under construction, but will have over 20,000 sf of indoor and outdoor amenity space, as well as neighborhood retail on the ground floor.
The building is being designed by Handel architects.
And 555 10th Avenue, directly across the street, is the building that the crane crashed into.
It is a 56-story luxury apartment block with a pool on the rooftop – and has one of the city’s most exclusive observation deck experience at 650 feet over the new Midtown West.
No one was injured at 555 10th Avenue this morning, it was confirmed.