Workers dangle from Lauderdale high-rise

By Juan Carlos Fanjul email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

FT LAUDERDALE, FL (WFLX) - A daring and bold high-rise rescue after a scaffold collapses at a South Florida building leaving two men literally clinging for life.

"It was incredible," said one witness who was breathless as the drama unfolded right before his eyes. A scaffold collapses, the workers on it left dangling off the side of a 17 story condominium located at 2200 Northeast 33rd Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.

"I heard the thing unraveling, and I saw them going down, and the one guy go heels over head," said witness Cynthia Sordellini.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue called in for the rescue effort, setting up camp on top of the building and then repelling down. Other firefighters were positioned on the ground using a ladder truck to try to pluck the men.

One worker was still hanging on to the scaffold itself 14 stories up while the other dangled precariously by his harness nine floors up.

A 9th floor office worker, unable to pull that man in through the window, helped him steady himself while waiting for firefighters. "Opened it up and grabbed a hold of his feet, resting them on my shoulders to take some strain off because he was hanging by the harness," said Michael Byrne who then called 911.

After 45 tense minutes, both workers were pulled to safety.

The men were actually repairing the scaffold itself after it had gotten stuck unable to move up and down. Who knew a simple repair would end in such a frightening, life and death ordeal.

One of the men was taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries. The other refused treatment.

No cause yet for the scaffold collapse.