ShareThis Page
Sight of rescuers calmed window washers in NYC dangling on scaffold |

Sight of rescuers calmed window washers in NYC dangling on scaffold

The Associated Press
Window washer Juan Lizama says he called his wife from his cellphone to reassure her he was safe as his scaffolding dangled from the side of 1 World Trade Center.

NEW YORK — Two window washers who were left dangling from a tilting World Trade Center scaffold said Friday that they knew they would be safe once they saw firefighters.

“In the beginning it was panic,” said Juan Lopez, who was trapped in the malfunctioning scaffold with Juan Lizama for more than an hour Wednesday.

But Lopez said he then focused on his safety training.

“We knew everything and everybody was safe around us, beneath us,” he said Friday at a news conference. “Once I saw the fire department and the New York police inside, it was just a matter of time.”

Lizama said he panicked a little when the scaffold started tilting 68 stories up the nation’s tallest skyscraper, but “we were always in control of the situation.” Lizama said he used his cellphone to call his wife and tell her he was fine.

On Wednesday, their scaffold plunged into an almost vertical position outside the 104-floor tower when a cable suddenly loosened. Firefighters used diamond cutters to saw through a double-layered window and pull the men to safety. Lizama and Lopez were examined at a hospital and released.

The dramatic rescue came a little more than a week after the building officially opened.

Lizama, 41, said that, despite his ordeal, he would go back to 1 World Trade Center tomorrow if asked.

“This job’s given me everything for my family, everything for me. That’s why I say God bless America,” he said. “I’m very happy to be here.”

Lopez, 33, said he might prefer an earthbound assignment.

“There’s other options for window washers,” he said. “Ground-floor jobs. … I will probably do that.”

Officials haven’t determined what caused the cable problem.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.