Two window washers are trapped near the top of the 46-story Hearst Tower — the architectural marvel of midtown Manhattan and currently home to a lot of awe-struck fashion magazine editors — after their scaffolding broke in half Wednesday afternoon. Emergency responders are now working from the roof and inside the building to try and save their lives.
This is the stuff of nightmares. Something went wrong for the two high-flying men up in the New York skyline around 2:40 p.m. when their scaffolding wouldn't lock. It's designed to fold in the center, but it's also supposed to connect in the center to provide a stable platform for the window washers to operate. The men are stranded near the 45th floor — overlooking the multiple-story grand ballroom and executive suites of Hearst Magazines and the Hearst Corp., not to mention most of New York City — but it makes for easier access by emergency responders than if they were on, say, the 17th floor where Seventeen magazine's staff works. Firefighters working inside the Hearst Tower, designed by Norman Foster to be one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in the history of the Big Apple, have cut a hole into one of the windows on the 44th or 45th floor to, hopefully, bring the stranded men inside safely. And, just to be sure, the window washers were attached to an extra safety harness lowered from the roof. Here is NBC's live video:
Unsurprisingly, considering a bunch of media people work in the Hearst Tower, there are plenty of pictures coming up from the scene:
Here’s the Conde window cleaners at this moment twitter.com/AntDeRosa/stat…— Anthony De Rosa (@AntDeRosa) June 12, 2013
Oof this scaffolding collapse picture twitter.com/BElias23/statu…— Adam Taylor (@mradamtaylor) June 12, 2013
View from inside the Hearst tower of onlookers. twitter.com/allyzay/status…— Ally Millar (@allyzay) June 12, 2013
This is a developing story and we'll update as we learn more.