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Crane Collapses in New York City

A large crane collapsed in New York City on Friday, killing one person and damaging an apartment building on Manhattan's upper east side, emergency services said.

One person died in the collapse shortly after 8 am New York time, the New York City Fire Department said.

The top section of the crane smashed into "The Electra" apartment building, which is more than 20 floors high, on 91st Street and First Avenue. The crane was working on a building under construction across the street from the apartment building.

Television footage showed part of the crane in a crumpled mess in the street and a corner apartment at the top of the building that had been demolished. Balconies had been ripped from apartments on the building as the crane fell.

Grant Disick, a doctor who was just a few blocks away when the crane collapsed, was one of the first people on the scene to offer assistance.

"At least one person is still pinned under there," Disick told Reuters. "I felt the pulse on the first guy, I could see half of his body."

He said he saw another injured man across the street, who was "alert and conscious."

In March a giant crane fell and crushed a residential building in midtown Manhattan, killing seven people and injuring more than 10 others. In October a crane dropped a container of debris from the 53rd floor of a skyscraper near Times Square, injuring several people.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told local radio on Friday that public safety was top priority and that the city would not "tolerate any rate of accidents higher than it has to be."

"This is just unacceptable and we have got to figure out what happened here," he said. "I gather the vertical part of the crane stayed attached to the building the way it's supposed to. This looks like the top came off."

"The public walking by shouldn't be at risk," Bloomberg said.