Medical experts said he should have died when he took a 47-story plunge in 2007 from a building caused by a freak accident in Manhattan, N.Y. Six years later, however, Alcides Moreno, 43, is like a walking miracle.
"I don't know why I'm still here, still alive, walking," he told The New York Post in a recent interview. "Maybe it's a gift God gave me. My kids think it's because I never wished bad things to nobody else."
Alcides was working as a window washer with his brother, Edgar, in Midtown Manhattan on Dec. 7, 2007, when his scaffolding broke and sent him and his brother barreling down 47 stories. His brother died, but Alcides made a recovery so stunning doctors could not have predicted it.
"Fifty percent of people who fall four to five stories die. By the time you reach 10 or 11 stories, just about everyone dies," Dr. Sheldon Teperman, director of trauma and critical-care surgery at Jacobi Medical Center in The Bronx, explained at the time of the accident. "This guy absolutely should have died."
His brother died after he fell off the 1,250-pound scaffold and continued toward the concrete at an estimated 124 mph. He hit the top of a brick wall. Alcides however grabbed on to an aluminum platform that acted like a surfboard in the sky and physicists surmise it slowed his descent.
Alcides, however, lived and his recovery, after firefighters found his bloody body atop a pile of mangled railings, was stunning. Among other injuries doctors had to attend to, he had to do 16 surgeries to repair 10 broken bones, collapsed lungs, damaged kidneys and blood clots in the brain, said The Post.
And doctors think he survived the 500-foot fall due to a combination of factors.
"I do think it's a combination of miracle, luck, hard work, great care and great family," said Dr. Steven Kirshblum. "What we see is the true triumph of the human spirit."
He settled a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the scaffolding company Tractel Inc., and now lives with his family near Phoenix, where he drives his children to school and volleyball games. He even finished a 3.1-mile walk to raise money for a church food pantry, reports The Post.
"I can't complain. I have my kids and my wife around me. I'm happy — happy to be here," said Alcides. "I gotta keep going, live day by day. That's the way I'm healing."