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Window cleaners rescued from skyscraper

09 November 2021

New York firefighters have rescued two window cleaners stuck on a collapsed cradle 69 storeys above the ground at the World Trade Center site.

Footage showed the workers rescued through a hole cut in one of the glass windows of One World Trade Center on Wednesday 12th November after dangling for two hours alongside the city's tallest skyscraper.

The rescued men were identified as Juan Lopez, who has been a window cleaner for five years, and Juan Lizama, who has been on the job for 14 years, Gerard McEneaney, a labour union official, told Reuters.

The 1,776ft (541m) tower only opened for business last week as the first of 3,000 employees of publishing giant Conde Nast moved into their new offices there.

A police official said the partially collapsed cradle was hanging at "a 75-degree angle". The cable on the cradle apparently broke as it retracted towards the roof of the building. People on the ground were moved back in case glass began flying from One World Trade Center.

Gary Hansen, an architect who worked on One World Trade Center, happened to be across the street during the incident. Mr Hansen told Reuters the building was designed with three cranes on top, two to suspend platforms and one for emergencies.

"These are the kind of emergencies architects plan for," he said.

Firefighters decided to cut through three layers of glass on the 68th floor instead of bringing the washers up outside the building, Joseph Jardin, a battalion chief in the city's fire department, said at a news conference. "This was a fairly simple operation,” Jardin said. "If we had to take them from the roof that would have been challenging.”

Workers in nearby offices clustered around their windows to watch the rescue, which was also shown live on television, while police closed off streets around the building in lower Manhattan.