Window washer fights for life after 11-story fall

AP News
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Posted: Nov 25, 2014 11:30 PM
Window washer fights for life after 11-story fall

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A 58-year-old window washer who fell 11 stories from a building onto a moving car is "fighting for his life" and opens his eyes when relatives speak to him, his family said Tuesday.

The man's name and hometown have not been released.

"We are amazed that he fell from such a high distance and still survived. Landing on the car really helped, and we are so thankful for that," the man's family said in a statement released by San Francisco General Hospital. They family asked not to be identified.

Police said the man was moving equipment on the roof of a bank building in San Francisco's financial district and not on a window-washing platform when he fell at 10 a.m. Friday crashing against the roof and back window of a sedan.

"He is a stubborn, strong man, and he is fighting for his life. He has had several surgeries and is still in critical condition, but doing a little better," the statement said. "We would also like to thank San Francisco General Hospital and all the doctors that never left his side. They have exceeded anything we could have hoped for him."

Many came forward to help the man when he fell, including a nurse who was walking by in the area. No one else was injured, including the driver of the car the man fell on.

The family thanked the nurse and firefighters who helped him and said the man, who has a wife and three daughters, is doing better than doctors expected, according to the statement.

Dr. Paul Doherty, a physics professor and senior scientist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, said it took about three seconds for the man, falling at an estimated speed of 60 mph, to hit the car, which acted as a big shock absorber and saved his life.

"He crushed the roof in a part where there were no reinforcement pillars and that allowed the roof to collapse more than a foot, maybe even two feet, under him and spread out the impact," Doherty said.

"The fact that he hit that car at the right time it's just amazing," he added. "He is a really lucky guy."

The man was working for Concord, California-based Century Window Cleaning, said Peter Melton, a spokesman for the California state Division of Occupational Safety and Health. A company official declined comment Tuesday.