Got to be your worse nightmare, the sound of that ping when a cable snaps and then a free fall to the ground from 12 stories. That is exactly what two seasoned high-rise window cleaners experienced as they plummeted to the ground after a cable snapped on their platform whilst they were working on a high–rise in Sydney’s City Business District.
They were positioned at the top of a building on the corner of Pitt Street and Bridge Street when the disaster happened. Witnesses reported seeing the cable snap. The accident happened just after 11am in the morning. Both window cleaners fell into awnings below in the Street where lots of passers by tried to assist before the paramedics arrived. Both men are in a serious condition.
“We all looked out of the window, the cable had snapped and we saw the whole scaffold with two guys plunge straight down … we heard the thump,” said Con Triantafillou, who works in a building across the road.
Triantafillou went on to say that one man crashed on to the awning before the cage landed on top of him, while the other man was left dangling by his harness from the awning. He said both men were moving but there was a lot of blood on the cage.
A bunch of local pedestrians, thank God, bless their hearts, they came and helped,”
Paul Sleiman, who was on the street when the men fell, said: “He ended up being about three metres off the floor. If the harness weren’t there, he probably would have died. People just rushed towards them. The tough thing was because they were so high up nobody could really help.”
Amazingly, a passing motorist pulled his Ute onto the kerb and under the dangling man so he could be stabilised on the vehicle’s roof before emergency crews arrived.
The man, aged in his mid-20s, was treated for back and internal injuries. The other man, aged in his 50s, was treated for lower leg injuries and is in a serious but stable condition after he crashed onto the awning with the cage.
Both men were taken to St Vincent’s hospital in a serious condition, an ambulance spokeswoman said.