1 construction worker killed, another critically hurt in fall from Midtown building

Friday, September 22, 2017
2 men die in 2 separate construction accidents in Manhattan
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Tim Fleischer has more on the tragic incidents and what one city councilman wants to do to help prevent things like this from happening.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- One construction worker was killed and another critically injured when they fell from a bucket lift in Manhattan.

It happened at 400 West 33rd Street at 9th Avenue around 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Just after the two workers fell from a bucket lift, others scrambled to help.

"They already knew the other guy, you know was already dead on scene," said Francisco Melendez, a construction worker.

Police and EMS responded quickly at the site of Manhattan West, luxury rental towers being built on 9th Avenue at 33rd Street.

Melendez works at the site.

"I'm very sketched out. To work big jobs like that now. I'm definitely going to make sure I'm always secured now. It's like a wakeup call," Melendez said.

The two workers fell from a bucket lift which was about three stories off the ground.

Police say one victim, a 45-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene. That worker was an employee of EJ Electric.

The second man, also 45 years old, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition.

Some workers did not want to share their thoughts about this tragedy. Others were brief.

"Too often," one worker said.

This building was previously issued a violation for failure to certify a correction of a class 1 violation.

There are at least two other accidents listed at this site since February.

"To have two people die in one day is like workers are falling like fruit from a tree," said Jumaane Williams, New York City Councilmember.

On a day that saw two construction workers killed, the city council is preparing to vote on a proposed bill calling for workers to receive up to up 59 hours of safety training.

"We decided to set a uniform standard of minimum amount of safety training for workers all across the city," Williams said.

Earlier Thursday at a construction site on Maiden Lane in Lower Manhattan, 44-year-old Juan Chunillo, a father of five, fell to his death.

"The victim fell from approximately, we believe, the 29th floor to a first floor scaffolding area," said Deputy Chief Tom Cuarro, FDNY.

Chunillo was wearing a harness.

His only family members rushed to the site when they heard the tragic news.

"If he had a harness and a crane director is supposed to be there. The crane director supposed to tell him you clip up yourself," said Elias, the victim's nephew.

They are dangerous jobs with sometimes tragic consequences.