Investigators Exclusive: Still no black box data from Tappan Zee crane collapse

Friday, July 29, 2016
Lead agencies still don't have data from black box in Tappan Zee Bridge crane collapse
The Investigators' Jim Hoffer has the latest details.

TARRYTOWN, New York (WABC) -- An Eyewitness News Investigataors exclusive focuses on the black box data from the Tappan Zee Bridge crane collapse.

Governor Cuomo promised a speedy investigation into what happened.

The crane's black box could provide some answers. So why don't the lead agencies have the data, ten days after the collapse?

The massive crane came crashing down on the Tappan Zee Bridge, but after ten days the two lead agencies investigating the collapse can't or won't tell us where the critical black box data is.

Hours after the crane's boom came crashing down, Governor Cuomo promised an expedited investigation into what went wrong.

"We want the answer as soon as possible," the governor said. "We're operating multiple cranes on this project by the way so the faster we know what it is to make sure this never happens again, that's what we want."

And numerous experts on crane mishaps say the key to finding out what went wrong is in the crane's black box, similar to the ones on planes.

The crane's data logger is loaded with a wealth of details about the crane's movement at the exact time it collapsed.

"The black box could tell you the angle of the boom, how much he was lifting, if the crane was moving," said crane expert Thomas Barth. "But the big thing is the angle and how much it was lifting. It's very important."

While everyone agrees the black box is vital to the investigation it appears that the two lead agencies investigating the crane accident have yet to receive the data ten days after the crane collapsed.

The Regional Federal Labor Department in Tarrytown, OSHA tells us they do not have the black box data.

The other agency, the New York State Department of Labor has refused to answer repeated inquiries, emails and phone calls as to whether they have the black box data:

"I don't know, I don't know why they don't have it," said Barth. "I know in accidents I've been involved in within matter of hours after we get there someone will be there from the manufacturer and they're taking that information off the black box."

The governor's office and the crane manufacturer also refused to answer our calls about the whereabouts of the crane's black box data.

OSHA has inspected the crane and done extensive interviews with the crane operator, who has 30 years of experience.