US & Canada

Investigation into World Trade Center rig collapse

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Media captionOne veteran cleaner describes the perils of the job

Officials are investigating how a cradle holding two window washers collapsed 68 storeys above the ground at the World Trade Center site.

Juan Lizama and Juan Lopez held onto the nearly vertical platform for almost two hours after a cable holding the platform malfunctioned.

Fire fighters rescued them by making a hole in a double-paned glass window with diamond cutters.

The incident came only a week after the skyscraper opened for business.

One World Trade Center, now the tallest American skyscraper, was built to a height of 1,776ft (542m) steps away from where the original twin towers of the World Trade Center stood.

The window washers were trapped on Wednesday when a cable holding the cradle developed slack and the platform "suddenly went from horizontal to nearly vertical" Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

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Image caption People watch as the platform dangles high above Manhattan

Emergency and fire officials responded to the call that came shortly before 13:00 ET (18:00 GMT).

They planned to cut the glass open while lowering a second cradle at the same time in case they could not rescue the workers through the glass.

One of the window washers called his wife before he was rescued, fearful that it might be his last opportunity to speak to her.

Both men were treated at a local hospital, released and were doing well, according to the window washing firm.

Officials have not determined what caused the cable problem, Mr Nigro said.

Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the building's owner, told the Wall Street Journal the rigs that held the malfunctioning cradle will be taken out of service until it is fully inspected and a report on the incident is finished.

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