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THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman
THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman
The man operating a crane that collapsed on January 9 in Queens was allegedly lifting too much weight when the accident happened.

The man operating the crane that collapsed at a Long Island City construction site Wednesday, injuring seven, has had his license suspended by the city, said the Department of Buildings (DOB).

A preliminary investigation by the DOB found that operator Paul Geer tried to lift 23,900 pounds of lumber at the 46-10 Center Boulevard site, more than double the crane’s weight capacity.

The DOB also said that that Geer couldn’t see what he was picking up and was lifting the materials outside the approved loading zone. A Stop Work Order for crane operations remains in effect while the DOB’s investigation continues.

The crane’s owner, New York Crane, was also involved in a deadly collapse on the Upper East Side. James Lomma, who owns the company, was tried for manslaughter, but acquitted last April.

During the trial, prosecutors claimed that the crane’s operator tried to lift too much weight and that Lomma used a cheap, unqualified Chinese company to do repairs.

A representative from New York Crane declined to answer questions, stating that they “had been advised not to speak at this time.”

The building where the accident took place is being developed by TF Cornerstone, the same company that has overseen several towers built as part of the revitalization of the Long Island City waterfront.

“Site safety is always our first priority as it relates to construction, and we are cooperating fully with all relevant authorities to try and determine what caused this occurrence,” read a statement from the developer.
Work at the site was subcontracted to Cross Country Construction, according to a TF Cornerstone spokesperson.

According to a spokesperson for Elmhurst Hospital, the seven injured workers, most of whom were in their 40s and 50s, were all treated and released by the end of last week.


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