A construction project at JFK Airport in New York turned from routine utility line relocation to tragic accident when two construction workers perished after being trapped underneath construction rubble.
It is still unclear what the two construction workers were doing, how they became trapped, or what mechanism led to their horrific fate. A statement released by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey promised “a thorough investigation” and that they would “be cooperating with all other investigative agencies.”
“At the time of the incident, workers were relocating utility lines in the vicinity of [the] cogeneration plant to support the increased energy needs of the JFK redevelopment project,” the statement continued. “The temporary safety standdown remains until safety reviews have been conducted.”
While many questions remain, the statement did offer some insights into the fatal accident, which occurred Monday morning. It suggested two workers became “trapped” under construction rubble some thirty feet down, suggesting perhaps a collapse of critical infrastructure.
Almost immediately, more than 60 first responders – many of them firefighters – converged on the chaotic scene and began attempting to exfiltrate and rescue the two trapped men. They were unfortunately declared dead at the scene. Simple Flying, reporting on the accident and attempts to rescue the trapped workers, reported:
The accident occurred in the early hours of April 3rd. At the time, the two construction workers, a 28 and 41-year-old, were moving utility lines in a trench. Their work was part of a project at JFK to significantly expand the airports’ capacity. While moving the utility lines, the building above the trench caved in on top of the pair. Dozens of rescue workers and fellow construction workers worked tirelessly to remove the two from the rubble. Later, the two deceased workers were pulled from the wreckage.
It has not yet been stated how or why the collapse occurred. What is known is that construction operations were stopped following the collapse. It also mentioned that the Port Authority would be conducting an investigation into the event and construction would only resume after an audit.
CBS New York reported on the tragic events. Take a look below.
After the incident, the Port Authority stopped all construction work at the airport and said it would not release the names of victims until kin had been notified first. “A stop order for all construction at JFK has been issued,” the Port Authority said, adding “names of the deceased and the company name are pending next of kin notification.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted: “My thoughts are with the loved ones of two people tragically killed while working on a construction site at JFK Airport earlier today.”
“Due to ongoing emergency activity, please expect roadway delays in vicinity of Terminals 5 and 7 at JFK Airport,” the airport’s official account said in a tweet as the response effort was ongoing.
JFK Airport is no stranger to accident or tragedy. In addition to more recent accidents at the airport, it was the scene of a horrifying crash in 2001, as ComputerWorld reported at the time, saying:
All New York City airports are closed, according to news reports, following the crash of an American Airlines Inc. flight near John F. Kennedy International Airport at about 9:15 a.m. today.
Details of the crash are sketchy. Eyewitnesses told several news outlets they saw an explosion, followed by one of the plane’s engines falling to the ground. Several buildings in Queens, primarily residences, caught fire from the plane’s falling wreckage. The downed plane was American Airlines Flight 587 from New York to Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, with 246 passengers and nine crew members on its preliminary passenger list, according to American Airlines. Its departure was delayed from 8 a.m., according to the airline, which didn’t disclose a reason for the delay.
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