A Kearny resident plunged to her death early Saturday after trying to retrieve her sister’s hat as it fell inside of the World Trade Center Oculus building.
Twins Jessica and Jennifer “Jenny” Santos, 29, were purportedly riding on an escalator inside of the transportation hub at around 5:30 a.m. when Jessica lost the grip of the clothing item. The New York Post reports that out of instinct, Jennifer reached for the hat and was able to grab it, but she had unknowingly stretched out too far over the protection rail of the mechanism and toppled into a 34-foot fall.
EMT workers quickly arrived to the concourse floor of the World Trade Center Oculus and retrieved the injured victim, but she was pronounced dead not long after arriving at nearby Bellevue Hospital.
Port Authority officials were mum on details for the first few hours following Santos’ passing, but ultimately confirmed on Saturday afternoon that the incident had taken place. A unnamed Port Authority supervisor who was on duty at the time of the accident said that they witnessed Jessica and Jennifer playing “catch” with the hat right before Jessica fell to the ground level of the Oculus.
“How sad is this? To lose your life over a hat. It’s f******g unbelievable,” they relayed, while also alluding to the fault of the surviving Santos sister.
“I don’t even want to think about what she’s going through,” the employee concurred.
Other people inside of the World Trade Center Oculus at the time of the mishap additionally remarked to a New York Post reporter how it appeared that Santos died on impact, with one construction worker going into vivid details about the damage left behind by the impact.
“There was a lot of blood,” they explained.
“That was it. There was nothing you could do. [You knew] wasn’t going to make it.”
After rushing to her sister’s fallen body, Jessica Santos was taken to a hospital in the area to be treated for severe trauma. Reps for the NYPD state that an investigation into Jennifer’s death is currently ongoing.
A look into the late woman’s social media accounts reveal that the electronic-music loving William Paterson University of New Jersey graduate matriculated from the education institution with a BS in physical education, as well as a degree of health for kindergarten through 12th grade and driver’s education. Santos also temporarily served as a student-teacher for the Lyndhurst Board of Education in 2012.
According to the New York Daily News, Jennifer Santos’ death inside of the World Trade Center Oculus is the first of its kind since the structure, which was built near the former location of the famed Twin Towers, opened up to the public a decade ahead of schedule in March of last year.
“The striking $3.9 billion transportation hub was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava and provides connections between New Jersey’s PATH trains and New York City’s subways,” an ABC News post about the Oculus explains.
“It opened about a year ago and is used daily by more than 300,000 commuters. Light beams in from the windows in the dizzying, soaring platform to the shopping mall below.”
Initially built as a replacement to the New Jersey PATH station that was also destroyed during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the wing-structured views inside of the World Trade Center Oculus have been known to occasionally lure flurries of photographers to the enclave, with shutterbugs from near and far often visiting just to snap a few shots of the unique environment for their enjoyment.
It is unknown if the World Trade Center Oculus was shut down for any period of time following the Santos incident.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]