Window Cleaner Falls 11 Stories Lands On Moving Car And Survives
SAN FRANCISCO – Nov. 21, 2014
A window cleaner fell eleven stories from a bank building on Friday morning and landed on a moving car.
His weight crushed the car’s roof and sent shattered glass flying into the street, police and witnesses said.
He Survived But With Critical Injuries
The man, who was not immediately identified, suffered critical injuries, but was conscious and rushed to San Francisco General Hospital, police said.
Witnesses described seeing a falling blue streak and the man’s shadow as he fell down, and then hearing a crashing sound as he landed on the car.
"I was walking to the Sterling Bank & Trust at California and Montgomery streets when the man fell and I and about 20 other people ran to the man, who was on his back".
"He was lucid and he understood we were with him".
"The bystanders, who included a nurse, put clothing on the man as they waited for the ambulance".
"It was utter, immediate shock. How do you react to something like that?".
Hartwell said of his reaction to the accident.
"As he was coming down, he was definitely screaming. It all happened so quickly. It was so instantaneous".
said Bianca Bahman, 31, a pre-medical student at San Francisco State University.
How Did It Happen?
"The man was moving equipment on the roof of a bank building in the heart of San Francisco’s financial district and not on a window-washing platform when he fell".
"No one else was injured, including the driver of the green Toyota Camry the man fell on. The driver did not want to comment".
San Francisco police Sgt. Danielle Newman said.
After The Accident
Blood, glass and one shoe were in the street as onlookers stood behind yellow police tape and watched officers work.
How Did He Survive?
Physics professor and senior scientist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, Dr. Paul Doherty said,
"Because of all the factors involved there is no simple answer to how a window washer can fall 11 stories and live".
"But the car was crucial in minimizing the force of the impact, by spreading it out over time".
“You would have to spread out that impact over time, and the best way to do that is to hit something that crumples under you".
Recent Window Washer Accidents
On Nov. 12 the collapse of a World Trade Center scaffold left two window washers dangling from the nation’s tallest skyscraper.
The workers were trapped 68 stories above the street when a cable suddenly developed slack and the workers held on to the teetering platform for two agonizing hours.
One called his wife during the ordeal, fearful that it might be his last opportunity to speak to her.
Firefighters used diamond cutters to saw through a double-layered window and pulled the men to safety.
They were not injured.
And last month in Irvine, California, two window washers were stuck for hours near the top of a 19-story high-rise and were pulled to safety by members of a search-and-rescue team.
"It is unclear how the workers became stuck on the side of the office building near the San Diego Freeway. Neither worker was injured".
Also last month in downtown Oakland, California, two other window washers were stranded outside the 19th floor of a high-rise for nearly two hours before employees inside realized they were in trouble and called for help.
They also were not injured.