Building inspectors in New York City are investigating how a piece of plywood blew off a security fence at a construction site and killed a 37-year-old woman who recently relocated from Philadelphia.
The victim, Tram Thuy Nguyen, who went by Tina, was a real estate agent who had been planning to get married in July.
According to police, Nguyen was talking on her cell phone on Tuesday night walking along West 12th Street in lower Manhattan when powerful winds blew off a four-by-eight-foot piece of wood connected to security fencing from a nearby condo construction site. The plywood struck Nhuyen, slamming her into a brick wall. Shortly after, she was pronounced dead due to severe head trauma.
Chris McFadden, a spokesman for Turner Construction, a construction contractor for the site, said the company has hired 3 sets of consulting engineers to determine what went wrong.
“It was a tragic accident, and our whole company, and everyone involved is deeply saddened by it,” he said. “We expressed our condolences to her family and fiancee. It’s a very sad time.”
He also said that “safety on and around our job sites is always our No. 1 priority.”
Work at the site has been suspended following a stop work order filed by the city.
In addition, the Environmental Control Board has issued the contractor a violation for failing to safeguard the property.
“It is the responsibility of building owners and construction site managers to ensure their properties are safeguarded and in code compliant conditions at all times,” said Alexander Schnell, a spokesman for the department of buildings. “A failure to do so can result in enforcement action by the department.”
The victim’s family is planning to bury her in Philadelphia. Funeral details have not been announced.
Alex Beitler, Nguyen’s boyfriend of five years, told the New York Daily News that she “always saw the best in everyone.”
“She was always reminding me to see the same,” he told the paper. “This is the most devastating loss.”