A 67-year-old woman who was struck in the head by falling debris from a building in Flushing Thursday morning has died, according to authorities.
Xiang-Ji, a resident from Rockaway Avenue in Westbury, was walking eastbound on 41st Road and Main Street at 9:44 a.m. when she was struck by a piece of plywood that allegedly fell from the building, police said.
Ji was taken to NewYork–Presbyterian Queens in critical condition, where she succumbed to her injuries, police said.
Following the fatal incident, Councilman Peter Koo issued a statement saying, “My heart goes out to the family and friends of the woman who was struck by falling debris today in Flushing.”
“Such a horrific tragedy should never happen to anyone who is simply walking down the sidewalk, and it is a clear example of why building owners and city agencies need to ensure building facades are safe, especially during periods of high winds,” Koo said. “Currently, a Stop Work Order exists on the property due to several outstanding violations, and I have called for the city to shut down the building until there is a greater understanding of this building’s safety and scaffolding is in place.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio shared on Twitter that “NYC Buildings is investigating the site from top-to-bottom to determine whether proper protocols were followed. Please keep the family and loved ones of this woman in your thoughts today.”
Heartbreaking news out of Queens. @NYC_Buildings is investigating this site top-to-bottom to determine whether proper protocols were followed. Please keep the family and loved ones of this woman in your thoughts today. https://t.co/wgs5hlWbrS
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 16, 2020
The NYPD 109th Precinct also issued a traffic advisory on Twitter announcing the closure of 41st Road between Main Street and Frame Place. The roads are now open but commuters should expect residual delays in the area.
UPDATE: All roads are now open, expect residual delays in the area.
— NYPD 109th Precinct (@NYPD109Pct) January 16, 2020
Brooklyn Councilman Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., chair of the Housing and Buildings Committee, said “it appears that an aluminum panel that was covering plywood dislodged in high winds,” which led to the fatal incident. He added that the incident is still under investigation.
“We are holding an oversight hearing at the end of this month with the Department of Buildings to determine what the city can do better to enhance safety. We will assure the city is protecting New Yorkers. We must also hold property owners accountable.”
Cornegy said that there have been a “number of violations issued against this property, but none related to the facade.”
“We will take the findings of the investigation into account during our hearing, and in our work moving forward,” he added.