Two workers trapped on scaffolding dangling from 69th floor of 1 World Trade rescued
New York Fire Department has released a photo showing their attempt to rescue the window washers
Two window washers caught on dangling scaffolding on the 69th floor of New York City's 1 World Trade Center were pulled to safety by New York City firefighters through a window cut in the tallest U.S. skyscraper, a building official said. The workers had been trapped for two hours on the broken scaffolding.
Mechanical error appeared to trap the workers, both veteran window washers, on a small platform dangling vertically from cables, according to Gerard McEneany, director of the window washing division at the building in lower Manhattan told NY 1 television.
MAN ALL HANDS 1 WORLD TRADE CENTER, HIGH RISE (WORLD TRADE CENTER) SCAFFOLDING EMERGENCY, UNDER CONTROL— FDNY (@FDNY) November 12, 2014
Rescue workers quickly pulled in the two men from the oblong, open-topped platform as it hung almost vertically high above the National September 11 Memorial in lower Manhattan.
The 104-floor tower, at the site of the destroyed Twin Towers, is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Images from the scene showed one side of the scaffolding dropping at a sharp angle from the towering skyscaper.
Gary Hansen, an architect who worked on 1 World Trade Center for the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, happened to be across the street while the platform was dangling.
He said that the building was designed with three cranes on top. Two of the cranes could be used to suspend platforms to allow workers to wash windows. The third crane was available for emergencies such the one that unfolded on Wednesday.
"These are the kind of emergencies architects plan for," Hansen said.
Workers in nearby offices clustered around their windows to watch the rescue, which was also shown live on television, while police closed off streets around the building in lower Manhattan.
Tenants began moving into the new tower only last week. The tower rises 1,776 feet (541 meters) above the ground and replaces the Twin Towers destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
"Things like this happen all the time in the city," Ray Elmadolar, a construction manager who works at a neighboring office building, said as he watched the unfolding operation, "but you don't want it to happen so high up."
New York City Fire Department tweeted a photo of its staff looking out the window of the 69th floor as they devise a plan to rescue the workers from the dangling washing cradle.
At 1,776 feet-high with 104 storeys, the building is the tallest in the US. It opened on 3 November, more than 13 years after the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre were destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.