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2 Dangling Window Washers Rescued From San Francisco High-Rise

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A firefighter stands on a ledge next to a dangling window washer scaffolding on the side of a building at 310 Berry St. in San Francisco, August 4, 2011. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Two window washers were rescued from a high-rise condominium in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood Thursday after the scaffolding they were on gave way and left them dangling, authorities said.

Firefighters were called to the 17-story building at 310 Berry Street near Fifth Street about 8:30 a.m.

It appeared that the ropes on one side of the scaffolding had given way, San Francisco Fire Department Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

As a result, the platform holding Raul Aguilar and his nephew, Benito Aguilar, ended up hanging vertically, but safety harnesses kept the men from falling to the ground.

“They have them (harnesses) for a reason,” Talmadge said.

Rescuers were able to pull one man up from the roof and the other man into the building from the 14th floor.

Both were taken to San Francisco General Hospital with moderate to serious injuries.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

Fire officials did not know whether the scaffolding collapsed due to worker error or an equipment malfunction. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health was investigating.

Rodney Blanchard, a worker with AT&T who was installing fiber optic cable nearby, witnessed the incident.

He said that despite hanging in the air, the workers seemed “pretty calm.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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