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Deadly New York crane collapse in Feb was operator error: report

Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A crane collapse in February that killed one person, injured three pedestrians and flattened parked cars along a busy street in New York City was the result of operator error, a city report concluded on Friday.

New York resident David Wichs, 38, died on Feb. 5 when a 565-foot crane came crashing down on Worth Street in downtown Manhattan during a snowstorm, leaving twisted equipment lying along nearly two city blocks.

The city's Department of Buildings found the operator, identified as Kevin Reilly in the 42-page report, failed to secure the crane amid high winds the night before the collapse and then lowered the boom at an improper angle on Feb. 5, causing the crane to become unstable.

"The crane operator involved in this incident acted recklessly, with tragic results," the department's commissioner, Rick Chandler, said in a statement.

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Reilly's license has been suspended and the department is seeking to revoke it permanently.

A lawyer for Reilly, Stacey Richman, declined to comment on Friday, saying she had not yet seen the report.

Following the collapse, the city implemented tougher rules on operating certain cranes in bad weather. The buildings department is also proposing legislative and regulatory changes aimed at requiring more inspections and stricter safety measures.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by James Dalgleish)