Bailey's Crossroads, VA High-Rise Apartment Collapses, Mar 1973

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Bailey's Crossroads, Va. (UPI) -- A huge unmanned crane plunged through 23 stories of a building under construction in a suburb of Washington Friday, slicing the structure in two as it crashed through floor after floor into the basement. At least six persons were killed and 34 injured.
An undetermined number of workmen were missing and feared buried under tons of concrete rubble.
Several survivors were plucked off the remains of the roof by a helicopter. Another was located buried under the rubble but still alive, and fed oxygen through a tube by a disaster team from a nearby hospital.
A scratching sound also was heard late Friday under an adjacent garage that fell in when the main building collapsed.
The crane toppled over on the top of the building and with a thundering roar "like an earthquake," plummeted through floor after floor as workmen below ran for their lives.
The building, sliced into two separate structures, remained hazardously up-right, held by two remaining end walls and remnants of the 23 floors. Officials said it appeared to be standing stably enough to conduct search operations.
Rescuers assembled a 100-foot boom crane late Friday night to clear away the debris.
Firemen from 14 suburban companies stood by protecting against the possibility of a flash fire or explosion from leaking propane gas tanks buried under the tons of concrete.
"This is going to take all night or even all day tomorrow," said a Fairfax County official. "It may be two or three days before we know for sure how many fatalities there were."
"Some of the men who are now missing might be home having a beer, some who we thought were missing have called in from home," he said.
Three of the dead were identified as:
DAN R. WHITE, 34, of Coral Hills, Md.
MORTON B. COLEMAN, of Washington.
CLEMONS R. HOLCOMB, of Fairfax, Va.
Several survivors were plucked from the top by an Army helicopter after tossing crumbled notes to the ground pleading, "Please for God's sake, get us off this building."

Post Standard Syracuse New York 1973-03-03

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