Jersey City, New Jersey
A 38-year-old Filipino father of four was crushed to death when an industrial size air conditioning unit fell from a crane onto the sidewalk next to Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center Tuesday morning, the police said.
Michael Tristan Mananghaya of Jersey City, N.J. was rushed to the hospital’s emergency room following the horrible incident on 173rd Street and Grand Concourse.
Attempts to resuscitate him failed, according to the hospital.
Police said the freak accident occurred at about 10:50 a.m. when a chain attached to the crane of a tractor trailer carrying the 40-foot-long A/C unit broke.
Errol Schneer, a hospital spokesman, said that a private company was removing a temporary portable chiller unit for the winter when the unit struck Mananghaya, who was believed to be an employee of the company.
He said the unit was being used during the summer months to supplement the hospital’s air conditioning.
An investigation is ongoing, and no crime is suspected.
A witness smoking outside the hospital said he heard the cable snap.
“All I heard was ‘snap!’” Joseph Contreras, 22, told reporters.
“Just a real loud wire snap and then the earth just shook, like an earthquake.”
“You could hear all the workers yelling, ‘He’s under there!’” added Contreras, who was reportedly awaiting the birth of his child in the hospital. “They were screaming, ‘Get him out of there, hurry, get him out!’ But it was too late. He was completely crushed and you don’t hear him scream.”
Contreras said it took the FDNY and the paramedics an hour to lift the heavy unit, and that the victim appeared lifeless when he was finally pulled out.
The witness said Mananghaya was standing directly under the unit when it fell.
“People were screaming at him to get out of the way and to move the crane, but it’s just I don’t think he saw it,” Contreras told DNAinfo.com.
“He took one step back when it was leaning over the ledge and that was it.”
Officials said the horribly bungled maneuver at the hospital began when workers used a crane to lift the flatbed carrying the huge chiller.
The crew planned to hitch the flatbed to a truck cab but apparently failed to secure the cooling unit, according to Buildings Department spokesman Tony Sclafani.
As a result, the giant machinery slid off the truck and onto Mananghaya, who was guiding the crane operator just before the accident.
On Tuesday night, Mananghaya’s family and friends in Jersey City gathered to pray and mourn.
“He would do everything he could to be a good provider for his family,” said sister Jamie Gomez told the New York Daily News.
The father of two boys and two girls ages 2 to 16 “loved to do silly dances and make everyone laugh,” said Gomez, 28, calling the tragedy a “nightmare.”
“Just when he found happiness, it got shut down,” she said.
“He was a very, very good son,” added mother Edith Managhaya, 61.
“He was so close to me.”
According to the Daily News, it’s not clear who was responsible for the deadly accident because there are two companies involved.
Aggreko Corp. leased the chiller to the hospital, and C&L Towing was hired by Aggreko to transport the device, officials said.
Representatives of both companies had no comment at the scene.
Both the Buildings Department and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration were investigating the incident.
Mananghaya worked for Aggreko fixing air conditioners and heaters, his grief-stricken sister said.