2011-10-19 / Features

Workers Injured In LIRR Tunnel Plunge


Two crewmembers injured on October 14, while working in a shaft at the Long Island Rail Road Expansion project in Long Island City, this week remain in serious but stable condition at New York Hospital.

Fire officials said the workers, whose names have not been released, were being lifted out of a shaft at the project at 29-85 Northern Boulevard at about 2:46 p.m. on Friday afternoon, when a machine that pulls workers from the shaft failed, sending the men plummeting more than 20-feet underground.

Firefighters at Ladder 116 in Dutch Kills were the first to respond to the scene, a fire spokesperson said. Firefighters from five Queens companies joined police, EMS and other emergency service workers in the rescue.

Firefighters were lowered in baskets to the accident site inside the under-construction tunnel, the spokesperson said. “When the firefighters arrived at the spot where the shaft collapsed, they used shovels and their bare hands to dig the workers out,” the spokesperson said.

Firefighters placed the rescued workers in the baskets and put them in a construction elevator to raise the men to safety.

A preliminary investigation determined the machine used to raise the workers suffered a mechanical failure, sending the men plummeting into the shaft, an FDNY source said.

Hospital officials did not release information on the type of injuries the men suffered.


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