NEW YORK – Officials are saying an accident last night could have been much worse, as a crane sitting on a barge being pulled by a tugboat tore into the underside of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday around 8 p.m., ripping away scaffolding being used by painters and other repair workers, but just missing doing any significant damage.
The bridge was closed for a short time to traffic, but was quickly reopened after roughly 100 firefighters, police officers, and other reponsders were dispatched to the scene and not structural damage was discovered.
The crane and barge were being pulled by the Thomas Dann, according to reports by the AP and others, a twin screw, model bow ABS international load line certified tug built by Bollinger in 1975 and initially named the Captain Martin. The 3,000 hp vessel is now operated by Dann Ocean Towing, which is based out of Tampa, Fla.
According to the New York Daily News, the tug continued on after the accident without stopping, and the Coast Guard was scheduled to interview the tug’s captain.
You can watch an extensive news report of the incident here.
It “Could have been a lot worse. A little bit higher, and it could have damaged the bridge,” FDNY Deputy Chief Vinny Mandala told NY1. “If the crane was a little bit bigger, if they didn’t wait for low tide, whatever, it could have been a lot worse.”
Photographer Jerry Martinez appears to have captured video of the Thomas Dann pulling the crane not long before the incident, heading toward the RFK Bridge. You can see his video here:
And, because we here at WorkBoat.com couldn’t resist, here is an example of the reactions of local citizens in New York captured by local media: