Dangling workers rescued from World Trade Center
NEW YORK — Two window washers were trapped for more than an hour Wednesday on scaffolding dangling 69 stories up the side of 1 World Trade Center before firefighters were able to cut through the new skyscraper's glass and pull them to safety.
The dramatic rescue occurred on the south side of the 1,776-foot, 104-story building, where the open-topped platform hung at about a 45-degree angle and swayed slightly in the wind.
The Fire Department said the workers were tethered and communicating with rescuers during their ordeal on the side of the nation's tallest skyscraper.
A cable on the scaffolding apparently broke around 1 p.m., according to Joe Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the building.
Rescuers could be seen dropping cables to workers and the fire department tweeted a photograph of rescuers inside the building looking at the dangling platform. At one point, another scaffold was inched down the same side of the building.
The opening cut into the thick glass was roughly 6 feet tall, even with rescuers' heads as they stood at the precipice. The two workers were brought through it at about 2:15 p.m.
People on the ground had been moved back in case glass began flying. Office workers and construction workers streamed onto a nearby street, their necks craned upward to watch the scaffold as it is waved in the wind. Dozens of emergency vehicles lined the street.
Carol Thomas and Lisa Cogliano, who both work for an insurance company, were returning to their nearby office from a meeting.
“Oh God, I don't want to know what he is feeling,” said Thomas. “I can't imagine.”
“It's horrific,” said Cogliano. “Hopefully, they find a way to get him out.”
The silvery skyscraper, which rose from the ashes of the Sept. 11, 2001, reopened just last week to 175 employees of the magazine publishing giant Conde Nast. About 3,000 more Conde Nast employees are expected to move in by early next year, eventually occupying 25 floors of the $3.9 billion tower.
Steps away from the new tower are two memorial fountains built on the footprints of the decimated twin towers, a reminder of the more than 2,700 people who died in the terrorist attack.