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Crane collapse in Manhattan kills 1, injures 4

One worker was killed and four people were hurt in a crane collapse at a construction site in New York. Msnbc.com's Alex Witt reports.

A day after a construction boom crane crashed to the ground at a Manhattan work site, killing one construction worker and seriously injuring another, authorities are trying to figure out what caused the accident.

Dozens of workers showed up to the No. 7 subway line extension construction site Wednesday morning, not knowing a stop-work order had been imposed in the aftermath of Tuesday evening's deadly collapse. 

Michael Simmermeyer, 30, of Burlington, N.J., was identified as the worker who died in the accident. One other person was hospitalized in serious condition and three people were treated for minor injuries.

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The crane was set up on the second of three levels at the construction site on the West Side, city officials said. The FDNY said the boom came apart in two pieces — one 80 feet long and the other 40 feet long.

Joe Travers, a construction worker, says he knew Simmermeyer. Travers described the man who died in the collapse as "just a nice guy" with whom he sometimes ate lunch.

"It's horrible this tragedy happened to a friend," he said.

Travers and the other workers who showed up to the construction site Wednesday were told to go home and return Thursday to pick up their paychecks.

The NYPD said the accident investigation would be jointly conducted by the Department of Buildings and police.

Jack Sullivan, deputy chief for the FDNY EMS, said it was possible one of the workers had been struck by the crane's boom. The crane operator and someone who worked with him were among those who were injured.

He described the removal of the workers from the construction site, about 60 feet below street level, as "extremely dangerous."

"We had construction material that wasn't stable," he said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority released a statement saying the agency plans to work with all authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.

"On behalf of the entire MTA, we pray for the recovery of the workers injured as a result of this tragic accident," the statement said.

In May 2008, a construction crane collapsed on Manhattan's East Side, killing the crane operator and a fellow worker. The crane's owner is currently on trial for manslaughter.

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