NEW YORK — Two window washers who were working on the exterior of the Freedom Tower were safely rescued after being suspended in a collapsed scaffold on Wednesday afternoon.
The window washers were clinging to the scaffold, which is hanging at a sharp angle outside of the 68th floor of 1 World Trade Center, which is 104 stories. Thousands of feet below, firefighters and police officers waited while a helicopter circled nearby. According to reports, at least two window washers were on their way to the top of the skyscraper when the motor or the cables on the scaffold broke just before 1 p.m. As the events were unfolding, FDNY updated their Twitter account.
"Now: #FDNY rescuing workers trapped on scaffolding outside 1 World Trade Center," FDNY posted on Nov. 12.
"MAN ALL HANDS 1 WORLD TRADE CENTER, HIGH RISE (WORLD TRADE CENTER) SCAFFOLDING EMERGENCY," the fire department added minutes later.
At around 2:17 p.m., firefighters were able to rescue the stranded men by breaking a window at the 68th floor level, allowing the window washers to enter the building and reach safety.
Ahead of the rescue, another scaffold appeared to be descending slowly from the top of the Freedom Tower toward the stranded workers. However, after the workers were safely pulled inside, the second scaffold remained in place.
"They have a lot of experience with it, a lot of expertise, they will remove the men in the safest manner that makes the most sense," an FDNY official told MSNBC during the rescue effort.
Meanwhile, 1 World Trade Center remains the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the fourth-tallest in the world. The building shares the same name with the northern Twin Tower in the original World Trade Center which fell during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.