Police probe negligence after 2 killed in crane collapse

Bodies taken to Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir for identification.

Crane collapse1 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
Crane collapse1 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Two workers were killed and eight other people injured when the arm of a crane at Tel Aviv's Neveh Tzedek Tower construction site broke loose from its 130-meter base and crashed into a building and onto the road Thursday afternoon. A pregnant woman in a car crushed by the crane was one of the injured, with wounds to her head and spine. Motti Cohen, the officer in charge of the south Tel Aviv district, said police are investigating negligence at the site. According to police sources, workers at the site had recently warned that the crane was not in good operating condition. The building engineer and several others were detained for questioning by the police, who said it was too early to tell what had caused the accident. Police and rescue services quickly arrived at the site and sealed off the road, creating heavy traffic blockages in the surrounding area. Police dogs were also brought to the site to search for any additional workers who might have been buried by debris. One of the dead workers was named as Alex Ibshin, 44, from Tel Aviv; by press time the police hadn't published the name of the other person who died. Six of the eight people injured worked for the construction company. Three of them were taken in light-to-serious condition to Ichilov Hospital and five were taken in light condition to Wolfson Hospital in Holon. According to a police spokesperson, the building under construction is 26 stories high, and the arm fell from a height of 130 meters. Three people were in the crane at the time - the two who died and a third who was able to climb down from the tower. Residents living in houses located several hundred meters away from the site described hearing a loud crash, and feeling their houses shake. Some thought the cause was an earthquake, while others worried about a suicide bombing. "My house shook and moved as if an earthquake had hit it," said one resident of Rehov Amzaleg, the Neveh Tzedek street closest to the building site. "This company had workers here until four every morning. They had no integrity. I'm not surprised this happened." Another worker, who had been employed at the site for only three days, was in the basement when the crash took place. "I ran out and joined about 100 other people, who started moving the crane off the cars it had crushed," he said. The construction of the tower has been strongly opposed by many of the neighborhood's residents. It is scheduled for completion in 2007, and most of the 270 apartments have already been sold. Yigal Grayeff and Karin Kloosterman contributed to this report.