How to fall to your death and live to tell the tale

3 Sep , 2017 Science

Alcides Moreno and his brother Edgar were window washers in New York City. The two Ecuadoran immigrants worked for City Wide Window Cleaning, suspended high above the congested streets, dragging wet squeegees across the acres of glass that make up the skyline of Manhattan.

On Dec. 7, 2007, the brothers took an elevator to the roof of Solow Tower, a 47-story apartment building on the Upper East Side. They stepped onto the 16-foot-long, 3-foot-wide aluminum scaffolding designed to slowly lower them down the black glass of the building.

But the anchors holding the 1,250-pound platform gave way, plunging them 472 feet to the alley below. The fall lasted six seconds. Edgar, at 30 the younger brother, tumbled off the scaffolding, hit the top of a wooden fence, and was killed instantly.

But rescuers found Alcides alive, sitting up amid the wreckage, breathing and conscious.

Falls are one of life’s great overlooked perils. We fear terror attacks, shark bites, Ebola outbreaks, and other minutely remote dangers, yet more than 420,000 people die worldwide each year after falling. Falls are the second-leading cause of death by injury, after car accidents. In the United States, falls cause 32,000 fatalities a year (more than four times the …read more

Source:: The Week – Science

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