New York City residents collectively had their hearts in their throats for about two hours on Wednesday when two window washers were momentarily trapped on the side of Freedom Tower after their rig suddenly titled 45 degrees. Luckily, the FDNY rescued the men from the hanging scaffolding by breaking through a triple-enforced 68th floor window and hauling the them inside. And the window washers, who lived to tell the tale, are going back to work Monday. But this time, they’re probably going to stick to ground-level window-washing jobs.
The two washers, Juan Lopez and Juan Lizama, had been on the job for years, and both received extensive training before they embarked upon the job. It’s still unclear why the scaffold suddenly tilted. The emergency brake, which normally prevents such a slip, appeared to malfunction. Lopez admitted to DNA Info that he panicked, which seems pretty reasonable to me, honestly, though probably not all that helpful in the moment. Lizama kept calm, and made sure that they were both secured by a harness before calling his wife.
Both are planning to go back to work Monday. “Yes I’ll continue to wash windows but there are a lot of ground floor jobs,” Lopez said.