The concrete block wall, which was 65 feet long and 20 feet high, crashed down on the workers as they were filling voids in the wall with concrete, investigators said.
According to Eugene Corcoran, deputy commissioner of enforcement, two of the workers were on the top of the wall and were able to ride it down as it fell, “which is quite possibly why they were able to survive,” he added. The other two, including the deceased worker, were on a scaffold and were caught in the collapse.
The worker who died was trapped between the scaffolding and the collapsed wall, and rescuers had to dig him out and cut through the scaffolding to reach him.
City buildings officials have placed a stop work order on the project while OSHA and other agencies investigate the collapse. Investigators are said to be examining the construction procedures used to strengthen the wall.
“It’s quite possible there are voids in the wall and the concrete will seep through the voids and the pressure on the exterior will cause the wall to collapse,” Corcoran told WABC-TV in New York.
Contractor H. Rock Co., which employed the workers, has not released a statement.