NEW YORK — A crane collapsed on the Tappan Zee Bridge shortly after noon on Tuesday, sending five people to the hospital, blocking traffic in both directions on the New York State Thruway and causing epic tie-ups that are impacting much of the region.
Five people were hospitalized in unknown condition when a crane collapsed at 12:02 p.m., according to Rockland County emergency services.
Two of those injured include a crane operator and a construction worker, PIX 11 reports. One patient is believed to have required oxygen when the ambulance transporting him or her became stuck in traffic, the emergency services official said.
Television helicopter images showed emergency crews pulling out at least one person from a car. Drivers were milling about on the span, just steps from the collapsed crane.
The crane did not appear to have fallen on any vehicles, but at least one car was rear ended, perhaps after a driver slammed on the car’s breaks to avoid it.
Police say the bridge is expected to be closed for several hours, and images showed it may have been damaged.
“One of the questions is how much if any structural damage did it cause to the bridge and how do they get the crane lifted,” Rockland Sheriff’s Chief William Barbera told LoHud. “There might long term damage and might take hours to open the bridge.”
The crane collapsed on the bridge’s Rockland County side, but caused traffic to be blocked for miles in every direction.
South Nyack-Grand View police Chief Brent Newbury told LoHud.com that he expects a“traffic nightmare.”
A new Tappan Zee Bridge is under construction beside the old one, which dates to the 1950s and will be demolished once the new bridge is completed. The original bridge is a notorious traffic chokehold, and also has long been a source of concern among some engineers about its viability.