File photo. (LIN Media/WPRI)
Updated: Friday, 13 Apr 2012, 2:11 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 13 Apr 2012, 11:32 AM EDT
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A window washer survived a 13-story plunge down the side of an Alabama hospital tower, landing in newly planted bushes and mulch, which helped break his fall, authorities said Friday.
Birmingham Fire Battalion Chief C.W. Mardis said the worker was getting onto a platform outside the building Thursday when his safety equipment malfunctioned. The gear slowed his descent some, and he was conscious when he was taken to UAB Hospital, where he's recovering, Mardis said.
"He fell into a landscaping area with freshly planted bushes and mulch," Mardis said. "So that kind of broke his fall."
The window washer is with Atlanta construction firm Everclear Enterprises, Doug Ecker of Hoar Construction, which is involved in the hospital project, told WBRC-TV.
The 14-story building, part of Children's of Alabama, has been under construction, hospital spokeswoman Rachel Olis said. It is nearing completion and is scheduled to open this summer, she said.
Everclear said in a statement that it is working to understand the circumstances of the accident and to ensure "the highest safety practices are in place."
"This accident is unfortunate and unprecedented in our 19-year history," the statement said. "Our foremost concern is the health and well-being of our co-worker."