Contractor behind WTC scaffold collapse cited in previous incidents, one deadly


The company contracted by the owners of One World Trade Center is keeping mum about Wednesday's life-threatening scaffold failure – and two other incidents.

The Tractel Group, based in the United Kingdom, built and maintains the scaffolds used by window washers at the $3.9 billion skyscraper. The firm's equipment also failed last year and in 2008, killing one person.

The firm was hired by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the World Trade Center complex, despite this dubious record. The government agency has yet to return a message left seeking comment.

A 2008 incident involving a scaffold collapse 47 floors over Manhattan, which occurred only months after Tractel repaired the faulty equipment, resulted in the death of one of two window washers aboard.

Tractel was fined $21,000 for the incident.

A separate Tractel scaffold "snapped" in June 2013, leaving two window washers dangling 500 feet above horrified onlookers in midtown Manhattan.

They were rescued after firefighters sawed through the building's glass façade and pulled them to safety.

An AOL News call to Tractel seeking comment was rebuffed by a woman who would not give her name.

"We have no comment at this time," she said before abruptly ending the call.

Revelations of the prior incidents came on the day after a scaffold hanging at about the 68th floor of America's tallest building, also known as the Freedom Tower suddenly slackened and left two window washers dangling above the World Trade Center.

Workers Juan Lopez and Juan Lizama were stuck for about 90 minutes but suffered only mild hypothermia by the time firefighters sawed through the brand new building's gleaming glass exterior to pull them to safety as millions around the world watched the rescue live on television.

Lopez and Lizama work for Upgrade Services Window Cleaning. The company has said only that both men are "doing well."

The $3.9 billion One World Trade Center opened only last week, when publisher Conde Nast moved about 175 employees onto lower floors.

The 68th floor, where firefighters sawed through the glass, is still under construction and not yet occupied.

The Freedom Tower stands 1,776-feet tall. It is the tallest building in the United States and the Western Hemisphere.

The building towers above the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum, which mark the footprints of the original Twin Towers that collapsed during the 9/11 terror attacks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Dangling WTC Window Cleaners Rescued
Dangling WTC Window Cleaners Rescued

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