Window washers 'doing well' after scaffold mishap

2014-11-13 13:07
 A scaffold that was carrying two workers hangs 69 floors up at One World Trade Centre. (Spencer Platt, AFP)

A scaffold that was carrying two workers hangs 69 floors up at One World Trade Centre. (Spencer Platt, AFP)

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New York - Investigators are looking into the collapse of a World Trade Centre scaffold that left two window washers dangling from the nation's tallest skyscraper, 1 World Trade Centre, which opened earlier this month.

On Wednesday, a cable suddenly developed slack, flipping a scaffold that left the workers trapped and dangling 68 stories above the street.

The men held on to the teetering platform for two agonizing hours before fire-fighters used diamond cutters to saw through a double-layered window to pull them to safety. The cause of the cable failure is under investigation.

The dramatic rescue came little more than a week after the nation's tallest building officially opened.

The window washers, Juan Lizama and Juan Lopez, were working on the building's south side when one of the platform's four cables abruptly gave way, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. The open-topped platform "suddenly went from horizontal to nearly vertical", he said.

It was unclear whether anything about the design of the 541m skyscraper complicates working the window washing scaffolds.

About 100 fire-fighters rushed to the scene, some of them lowering ropes from the roof so the workers could secure themselves and providing a two-way radio to communicate, Nigro said.

The workers, who have more than 20 years of experience between them, were harnessed to the platform, and the building's owner said they had all the requisite safety gear and training.

The building's owner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said it was suspending window cleaning while investigating what happened.

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