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Contractor Charged with Homicide in Crane Collapse

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

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A contractor has been indicted on homicide charges in a crane collapse in midtown Manhattan that killed seven people last year, the district attorney said Monday.

The contractor, William Rapetti, was in custody Monday morning. He was indicted on homicide and other charges in connection with the March 2008 accident, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said.

In September, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Rapetti Rigging Services Inc. of Massapequa Park, on Long Island, for improperly using slings recommended by the manufacturer to stabilize the crane.

In an e-mail to The Associated Press, defense attorney Arthur Aidala said Rapetti was innocent and "has agreed to offer his full assistance and expertise in helping to determine the actual cause or causes of the crane collapse that day."

He added: "William Rapetti is determined to help clear his name and demonstrate that he and his company operated and supervised the site in a manner beyond reproach."

The 19-story tower crane broke away from a luxury apartment building under construction and fell like a tree across other buildings as far as a block away.

A brownstone town house was demolished, and some residents later said they had been fearful that the crane was unstable.

A city construction site inspector was later charged with falsely claiming he had inspected the crane 11 days before the mishap.

The accident was one in a wave of fatal construction mishaps in the city. On May 30, another tower crane broke apart and fell on an apartment building, killing two workers. Other crane operations were suspended temporarily.

   

Tagged categories: Construction

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