NEW YORK, NY – Count 26-year-old Westfield resident Jesse Natale among the fortunate survivors of a tragic accident involving a massive construction crane collapse on a Tribeca street in lower Manhattan that claimed one life and injured three others Friday.
Natale, a civil engineer who works in all five of New York’s boroughs, was stopped at a traffic light at the intersection of Worth Street and Church Street and was on his way home from a cancelled job at construction site when he witnessed the accident right before his eyes.
“I started to see debris falling from the building in front of me,” explained Natale in an interview with TAP into. “I could see the boom of the crane connected to the cabin from where I was stopped, so my initial thought was that something hit the building or that snow had caused the roof or an awning of some sort to collapse. The next thing I know, the red boom of the crane was falling through the sky and it landed in the middle of the street.”
The crane, which has a boom length of 565 feet, crashed less than a block away from Natale, crushing parked cars and anything else in its path of destruction.
“After it happened, I realized that had I made the light or been maybe 100 feet closer I could've been killed,” Natale said.
Immediately after notifying the police of the incident, Natale, who has lived in Westfield for more than a decade, called his father to inform him of the events that had just transpired.
“I told him about what I saw, but at the time I had no idea the severity of the situation,” he said. “I knew it was bad but I had no idea if anyone had gotten hurt.”
Natale then proceeded to inform his girlfriend and other relatives, including his grandmother.
“My family knows I work all over the five boroughs daily and they can't really keep up with where I am most of the time,” added Natale. “My family is always concerned for me because they know I work in the city and these things happen from time to time in my field of work.”
One man — a pedestrian who lived in New York City — has been reported dead in the accident.
“It's extremely unfortunate that someone, especially someone not working on the site, was killed and that other people were severely injured,” Natale said.
The near-death experience has not changed his outlook on life.
“I know that these things happen and so I value my life,” he said. “I didn't take [life] for granted before and I will continue not to in the future. If anything, the incident just reminds me that I need to pay attention to my surroundings at all times.”