Workers rescued from scaffold at Hearst Tower

June 13, 2013 2:58:10 AM PDT
Firefighters rescued two workers who spent more than an hour hanging from the 44th story of the Hearst Tower in Midtown.

The Hearst Tower is located at 57th Street and 8th Avenue in Midtown.

"What were you thinking up there?" Eyewitness News asked.

"Just wanted to get off it! I'm little shaken up still, but thanks to the fire department and emergency services, everything's all right," said Steve Schmidt, rescued worker.

Steve Schmidt is one lucky guy. He arrived back home with quite a story to tell.

"What was the first thing you did when you got off?" Eyewitness News asked.

"Just sat down. I was just glad I was off it, just try to relax a little bit," Schmidt said.

Hours earlier, he was way up on the 44th floor of Hearst Tower after the scaffolding he and a coworker were using suddenly buckled.

"It appears the center motor somehow failed. There were three motors on the scaffolding," Schmidt said.

It took highly trained rescuers more than an hour to secure the scaffolding.

And as precarious as the situation was outside, pictures obtained by Eyewitness News show it was also tricky inside.

The scaffolding had come to a rest near the top of a multi-floor atrium.

Rescue workers had to use a scissor lift to get to the ceiling.

That's when they carved a four square foot hole in the window.

That sent shards of glass tumbling to the closed off street below.

Then, firefighter Tom Gayron climbed right out and pulled the 49-year-old Schmidt and 29-year-old Victor Carabello back in.

"It's really just like when you're training, you're not really worried about how high, you're just worried about getting these guys in and the training just takes over," a firefighter said.

"'All this for us?' That's what they said. They were smiling when they were out there because they knew they were out there and we were coming for them," said Moses Nelson, a rescue medic.

Schmidt has been working high in the sky for 15 years.

Back on terra firma, he had one thing to say to the rescue workers who risked their lives to save him.

"I appreciate it, they were great, they got us off fast, professional you know, it was great, thanks a lot guys," Schmidt said.