Window washers survive SoMa scaffolding mishap in San Francisco

Two window washers are lucky to be alive after part of a scaffolding gave way and left them dangling 14 stories high on a Mission Bay apartment building Thursday morning.

Passersby gasped as fire crews rushed to the building at 300 Berry St. just after 8:30 a.m. The scaffolding hung vertically, but the workers did not fall because they were wearing harnesses, San Francisco fire spokeswoman Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

Firefighters pulled one of the men onto the roof. The other man was rescued through a 14th floor apartment. The residents of that room were on vacation in Ireland, a neighbor said.

One of the workers was transported to San Francisco General Hospital with serious injuries, Talmadge said. The other went to SFGH with minor injuries, she said.

The window washers were identified as Raul Aguilar and his nephew Benito Aguilar.

Rodney Blanchard, an installation and repairman with AT&T who had a job in the building, filmed the harrowing scene on his cellphone.

“I'm just glad they're okay,” Blanchard said.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating. The owner of the window washing company said that a davit that is attached to the building and is supposed to secure the scaffolding snapped.

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