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NYC Collapse Survivor: Flying Pianos Saved Me

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    NEWSLETTERS

    There were many close calls as people just missed being seriously hurt or killed in the Harlem explosion and collapse. Chris Glorioso reports. (Published Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014)

    A piano technician working in the basement of one of the buildings that exploded in Manhattan, killing at least seven people, says he was probably saved by the musical instruments that fell around him and shielded him from the rubble.

    Colin Patterson was in the Park Avenue piano store, Absolute Piano, Wednesday morning when he heard "a huge bang."

    "The building fell on me, and I got just one scratch," he said.

    Patterson said he is having a hard time understanding how he escaped unscathed, but credits the pianos that fell around him.

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    "Pianos all over me," he recalled. "The pianos flew out, off the ground ... that probably helped me too."

    Patterson said he climbed out a back window.

    "It was just there, and I managed to get out," he said.

    Seven people have been confirmed dead and others are still missing in the rubble. More than 70 were hurt.

    Most of the people who were injured are expected to survive. At Harlem Hospital, where more than a dozen people were treated, one man who suffered from smoke inhalation described passing out as he ran from falling debris.

    "I just kept on going, just trying to get away," he said.

    Another man was driving a cab near the Metro-North tracks when he felt the blast.

    "He thought the train was falling on top of him, but that wasn't true," his son said. "His car got shattered but he's OK. He's shaken up."