Indianapolis Crews Rescue Dangling Workers

Aug. 14, 2008
The men were working near the 28th floor when the scaffolding malfunctioned.


Fire crews rescued three men left dangling from a downtown building Thursday afternoon after the scaffolding they were working on gave way.

The men were working near the 28th floor on the south side of the M&I Bank building at Ohio at Pennsylvania streets when the scaffolding malfunctioned, sending them plummeting to between the 12th and 14th floors of the 28-story building, Indianapolis fire Capt. Gregg Harris said.

"I saw this swinging and then the men swinging and the beam come crashing down. It took some windows out with it and you just saw like snow and shattered glass just coming down," said downtown worker Takia Bland.

One of the men held on to the scaffolding after the fall, while the other two were suspended by their safety harnesses, Harris said.

Fire crews broke out a window to reach the man still on the scaffolding. He was hoisted to the top of the building.

The two other workers -- who remain suspended in the air for nearly two hours -- were lowered onto the top of a nearby parking garage just as a storm moved into the area.

"We both kind of looked over our shoulders and said, 'Yeah, picking up a little wind here.' Because we could both feel ourselves starting to sway a little bit," said IFD rescue worker Ian Marano.

Witnesses said the men were talking and moving during the rescue. One was smoking a cigarette as he waited to be lowered, witnesses said.

All three men were transported to Methodist Hospital, where they were listed in stable condition.

The scaffolding shattered several windows and was left hanging from one set of cables. Authorities did not immediately say what caused the collapse.

Officials at the scene told 6News' Rafael Sanchez the scaffolding that malfunctioned was called swing stage scaffolding. The men were working for Atlanta-based Beau Davis and Associates and were installing the new M&I sign on the building, hospital officials said. All three men were based in the Atlanta area.

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