Two window washers were rescued from a high-rise in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood Thursday morning after the scaffolding they were on gave way, a fire department spokeswoman said.
Firefighters were called to the 17-story residential building at 310 Berry St. near Fifth Street at about 8:35 a.m., San Francisco fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.
It appears that the ropes on one side of the scaffolding had given way, Talmadge said.
Crews found the two workers hanging by their harnesses from the scaffolding -- which was practically vertical -- one near the bottom of the scaffolding and another near the top. Despite hanging in the air, the workers seemed "pretty calm," according to rescuers.
Rescuers were able to pull the worker near the top to the roof, she said. He suffered serious injuries and was taken to San Francisco General Hospital.
A ladder was set up to try to reach the second worker, but it was too short, so firefighters went into the 14th floor of the building and pulled the worker inside at about 9 a.m., Talmadge said. He was not seriously injured.
She did not know whether the scaffolding collapsed due to worker error or an equipment malfunction. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is responding to investigate.
Talmadge said the harnesses the workers were wearing prevented them from falling.
"They have them for a reason," she said.
Rodney Blanchard, a worker with AT&T who was installing fiber optic cable nearby, caught the incident on video on his cellphone.
Bay City News