Two construction workers died on Monday, April 3rd at JFK Airport, after rubble fell on top of them, according to the Port Authority. The workers were in a 30 foot trench when the incident occurred at Building 49 on airport grounds. The incident took place around 11 am, while the construction workers were reportedly relocating utility lines as part of redevelopment work being carried out at the airport. The Port Authority Police Department, the FDNY, and EMS immediately responded to the scene. The construction workers were eventually pulled from beneath the rubble around 1 pm and were declared dead on the scene.
While flight activity was not affected, according to the Port Authority, the accident caused minimal delays in areas of the airport close to where it occurred. However, redevelopment work being carried out had to be stopped. “A stop order for all construction at JFK has been issued,” a Port Authority spokesperson said. “The Port Authority is conducting a thorough investigation and will be cooperating with all other investigative agencies.”
“My thoughts are with the loved ones of two people tragically killed while working on a construction site at @JFKairport earlier today,” Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted on Monday. “[The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey] is conducting a thorough investigation of the incident.”
City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Selvena N. Brooks-Powers released a joint statement pointing out how this was the third death to occur in a workplace at JFK Airport in the last few weeks. The statement went on to acknowledge JFK Airport’s importance to New York City and the communities of Southeast Queens. “Residents, workers, and visitors alike deserve to be safe—and that must include the essential workers who contribute to the daily activity and success of the airport and surrounding communities,” the statement said.
According to the Gothamist, construction worker deaths in New York City reached a five-year high in 2022. A total of 22 construction workers were killed last year as per statistics from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Construction workers deserve to work in safe environments, more so because the construction workforce in the city is largely made up of vulnerable people such as formerly incarcerated people and immigrants.