Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Construction worker Roger Vail, 62, with 50 States Engineering was surveying the 16th floor of One Manhattan West, when a platform he was standing on broke and fell 10 stories to his death


A construction worker fell 10 stories to his death Monday after the scaffolding he was standing on broke, police said.

Roger Vail, 62, was surveying the 16th floor of One Manhattan West, at the corner of West 33rd Street and Ninth Avenue, around 6:40 p.m. when the piece of material he was standing on broke, the NYPD said.

The Montgomery, N.Y., resident plunged to the sixth floor and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The city’s Department of Buildings on Monday issued a stop-work order at the site, records show. The planned 67-story building is one of six being developed as part of Brookfield Property Partners’ Manhattan West complex.

Vail had been working for a surveying firm called 50 States Engineering at the time of his death, a spokesman for the project's general contractor, Tishman Construction, confirmed Wednesday.

"We are deeply saddened by this terrible tragedy, and we are actively working with all relevant agencies to investigate the matter,” the spokesman said in a statement. “There are no further details at this time."

The construction worker was a longtime drummer who played in a number of bands over the past several decades, the Times Herald-Record reported.

Brookfield Property Partners didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.


Roger Vail, a drummer and Middletown native whose career with local bands spanned decades, fell 10 stories to his death Monday in a construction accident in Manhattan, the NYPD said Tuesday.

Vail died after a platform on which he was working on the 16th floor of a building on Manhattan’s West Side collapsed, said Sgt. Jessica McRorie, a spokeswoman with the NYPD’s Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information. Vail landed on the sixth floor of the building at 401 Ninth Ave., McRorie said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident occurred about 6:40 p.m.

Fellow musicians who played with Vail over the years said he was 62, and besides drumming in Orange County bands, he also worked as a surveyor.

Drumming was Vail’s passion, fellow musicians said, and he played with a number of 1950s and ’60s cover bands, including Route 66 and Take 5. Vail also played in Twist and Shout, a Beatles tribune band that played around Orange County in the 1990s.

“He was the best ’60s drummer I ever worked with,” said guitarist and keyboardist Ralph Bauer, who played with Vail for 30 years. The two met when they were in seventh grade at Middletown’s Anthony Veraldi Junior High School. He said Vail recently moved to Montgomery.

“Drumming was Roger’s life,” said rhythm guitarist Tim Selear, who co-founded Route 66 with Vail back in the early 1980s. “He was more dedicated to practicing than any of us.”

Middletown Mayor Joe Stefano said Vail grew up on Jackson Avenue in the city’s 4th Ward. Route 66 entertained at DeStefano’s Olde Erie when the restaurant opened at its West Main Street location in 1998, the mayor said. “They really rocked the place,” DeStefano recalled. “They loved music. They loved being together.”

“He’s going to be missed by so many people,” said Kathie Selear, Tim Selear’s wife. “He was such a true friend. There won’t be a parking lot big enough to hold all the cars that will be there when people come to pay their respects.”

Information on funeral arrangements was unavailable as of late Tuesday.


A construction worker plummeted more than 10 stories to his death after a wooden platform gave way underneath him by the Hudson Yards Monday night.

Roger Vail, 62, of Montgomery, N.Y., was working at 400 W. 33rd St. — which is part of the massive Manhattan West development project by Brookfield Properties — doing a survey on the 16th floor at about 6:40 p.m., when he fell through a platform, police sources said.

He dropped to a 6th floor landing, and medics pronounced him dead at the scene, cops said.

The victim, a surveyor hired by 50 States Engineering — a firm hired by the general contractor, Tishman Construction, officials told the Daily News. He was working to raise a “cocooning system” designed to cover areas of active high-rise construction and prevent falls, officials said.

The city Buildings Department issued a full stop-work order at the building Monday, and issued a violation to the contractor for failing to safeguard the site.

“We are deeply saddened by this terrible tragedy, and we are actively working with all relevant agencies to investigate the matter,” Tishman spokesman John Gallagher said.

Vail’s friends described him to The Times Herald as a Middletown, N.Y. native who played drums in Orange County bands for decades.

“To all a sad, sad day. Roger Vail, good friend and great local musician passed,” said fellow musician Brent Hambly in a public Facebook post.

“Jammed w/him 6 weeks ago. Beautiful studio he built in a rustic 1890's house,” Hambly wrote in a follow-up post.