The incident took place at 4610 Center Boulevard, near 46th Avenue, in Long Island City.
There were seven injuries, but none were life threatening. Three people were seriously hurt, and four others suffered minor injuries.
All workers were accounted for.
The site is a planned 25-story apartment building that is part of TF Cornerstone's East Coast Long Island City development.
The crane was operated by Cross Country Construction LLC., of Elmsford. It was the subcontractor doing concrete work at the building.
The company released the following statement:
"There was an incident involving a crane at our development site at 4610 Center Boulevard in Long Island City. Site safety is always our first priority as it relates to construction, and we are cooperating fully with all relevant authorities to try and determine what caused this occurrence."
Three of the victims needed to be extricated from underneath the fallen machinery.
The red crane toppled around 2:30 p.m., sprawling across the metal scaffolding and wood planking that made up the first floor skeleton of the residential building behind a big neon "Pepsi Cola" sign, a local landmark. Workers putting up the second floor framework scrambled to get out of the way.
"Once that snap came, that was it," said Russell Roberson, 32, of Brooklyn. "I just heard guys yelling, 'Run, run!"
The people who had to be extricated from underneath the crane suffered a range of injuries, broken bones being the most severe, Deputy Fire Chief Mark Ferran said. He said emergency services personnel didn't need heavy machinery to get them out. None of the injuries was life-threatening.
Preston White, 48, a carpenter from the Bronx, was working his first day at the site in the Long Island City neighborhood. He had turned to speak to a friend when he heard a popping sound and turned back around.
At that moment, "I saw the cable whipping toward the deck...You could just hear it buckling," White said.
The impact shook the scaffolding he was on.
The crane cut down the framework of the building "like a hot knife in butter," White said, because there was no concrete on it yet.
LINK: PHOTOS FROM THE SCENE
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