The Chicago Skydeck is reportedly cracking under the pressure of millions of tourists. Situated on the 103rd floor of the Chicago's Willis Tower, the Skydeck offers a spectacular view of the city. Although the transparent viewing deck is "unbreakable," a California family saw and heard it cracking under their feet.
Alejandro Garibay traveled to the "Windy City" with his brother and two cousins. During their stay, they could not resist touring the infamous Willis Tower. Previously called the Sears Tower, the skyscraper is currently the eighth-tallest building in the world. Although tourists have enjoyed the Skydeck for decades, the 2009 addition of The Ledge added a new dimension to the amazing view.
The Ledge includes four transparent glass boxes, which provide tourists with an unobstructed view of skyline -- and the ground below. Designed by the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the Chicago Skydeck viewing platforms are surrounded by three layers of half-inch glass. Each platform was designed to hold up to five tons.
Although viewing the city through The Ledge is intimidating, the engineers contend the viewing decks are perfectly safe. However, the visiting California family is not so sure.
Garibay said the Chicago Skydeck clearly cracked below his feet:
"I walked them over so they could see and they were totally shocked and asked us to step away and then proceeded to start calling staff and techs and I don't know who else. When we pulled our phones to start recording and take pictures they asked us to leave right away."The California man took several photos of the incident. Although the damage appears to be extensive, company officials explain that the damage is not as bad as it looks. Spokesman Brian Rehme said the Chicago Skydeck remains intact. However, the coating, which covers the surface of the glass, has cracked:
"This coating does not affect the structural integrity of The Ledge in any way. Occasionally, the coating will crack, as it is designed to in order to protect the surface of the glass."Officials insist that the Chicago Skydeck and The Ledge are safe, however, the viewing platforms are currently closed. Rehme said The Ledge boxes will be thoroughly inspected and new coating will be added to the glass.
Although Rehme said the viewing platforms are perfectly safe, Garibay's photos are unsettling.
According to company officials, the Chicago Skydeck attracts more than 1 million tourists every year.