South Florida man says he's lucky to be alive after crane piece falls onto car: ‘All the airbags went off'

A woman who lives in an apartment building nearby said she saw the crane fall and heard a "boom"

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A construction worker died after a portion of a crane fell onto a bridge Thursday in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Fla., crushing a car and injuring three more people.

The incident happened at around 4:30 p.m. on the bridge over the New River, near Southeast 4th Street.

Fort Lauderdale fire officials said in a news conference said a construction crew was in the process of "stepping the crane" by adding sections to a crane to make it taller when a platform fell from the building, along with pieces of the crane.

The construction worker fell with the crane section, causing fatal injuries, officials said. The crane itself remained secured to the building.

Officials confirmed at least one person is dead and two others injured after a crane collapsed and crushed a car in downtown Fort Lauderdale Thursday afternoon.

The crane section landed on the nearby bridge, damaging at least two vehicles. At least two other people who were in vehicles were transported to the hospital, one in stable condition and the other with minor injuries. A third person was also treated for their injuries at the scene.

Footage from NBC Miami's helicopter showed the crushed vehicle as well as another damaged car nearby. Several police units and paramedics responded to the scene.

Mark Cerezin's Tesla was damaged by the falling crane piece. He said it bounced off his car and landed on the vehicle next to him.

"I was driving and I felt a compression, and I looked up and I saw the blue structure coming down, and I slammed on my brakes. It sheared off the front of my Tesla and all the airbags went off — and I’m very lucky to be alive," Cerezin said.

A woman who lives near the site of a deadly crane collapse describes the unsettling scream she heard during the incident in Fort Lauderdale.

One woman who lives in an apartment across from where the collapse happened said she saw the crane falling from the sky and hit the corner of a building. She described the screams she heard from construction workers as "unsettling."

"It was really shocking," said the woman, who identified herself as Abby. "It was very traumatizing ... to hear the 'boom' — I was terrified and shocked."

Tony Perez said he was coming home from work.

"I just look out the window, and I see a crane coming from the sky, and I'm like, this is crazy, it's really happening," he said. "And then boom, a loud, crashing sound, and it landed right on this car. It was like, fix or six cars in front of me, so I was just like, 'oh my God, it could've been me."

The crane piece fell from a construction project for a 43-story apartment building planned for mostly seniors, with a retail and restaurant space for the base of it. The $151 million project has had some issues with the construction company suing the developer, saying it was an "extremely small site given the size of the project." That lawsuit was settled. The project faced what the lawsuit called severe delays because the foundation had to be redesigned at one point — that led to even more lawsuits.

Nearby buildings were also evacuated as a precaution. Officials said the buildings were not affected and later deemed them safe.

The bridge is closed in both directions indefinitely for the investigation. When the crane fell, it left a hole in the bridge, officials said. Crews will have to repair it and determine its structural integrity before reopening it.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will lead the investigation.

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