Two window washers were rescued from the Hearst Tower in New York City. The workers were trapped 500 feet above the street when the scaffold they were using broke.
The incident happened around 2:30 pm. Emergency crew responded to the scene immediately. It is unknown what caused the malfunction. However, people watching from the streets and sidewalk noted that the scaffolding was bent in the middle.
As reported by NBC News, the scaffolding was actually designed to be folded so it can wrap around corners. A mechanism to prevent the scaffolding from folding, unexpectedly, apparently failed. The two window washers became trapped when the scaffolding folded at a 90 degree angle.
While the situation was frightening, the window washers were secured with safety harnesses. The biggest challenge facing officials was determining how the window washers would be rescued.
Authorities first closed the surrounding streets to traffic. Firefighters and Police officers were present on the ground, on the roof, and inside the windows where the men were left hanging.
Rescue workers eventually decided to remove the windows rather than attempting to hoist the men up or down the side of the building. As reported by ABC News, the two window washers were rescued through the windows without further incident.
Both workers are reportedly safe and did not suffer any medical problems associated with the incident.
As described by TurnerConstruction.com. the Hearst Tower is 46 stories tall. The glass and steel constructed building has a unique shape, consisting of repeating triangular windows.
Housed in the building are Hearst publishing, a data center, a fitness center, Good Housekeeping Magazine, numerous executive offices, and a conference center.
The glass and steel tower were an addition to the original 1928 building. The new construction and renovation earned the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED Gold Designation.
The Hearst building is unusual and beautiful. It will now be known as the sight of a frightening accident that could have turned deadly. The NYPD and firefighters are credited with the Window washers’ rescue. Their immediate response and quick thinking made the rescue a success.
[Image via Flickr]