Man Rescued from Ledge 70 Stories Above Rockefeller Center

DNA Info - August 11, 2011

by Mathew Katz and Tom Liddy

MANHATTAN -- Emergency crews rescued a man from a ledge at the top of 30 Rockefeller Center Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

The man had been perched on a pillar on the 70th floor of the famed Midtown skyscraper for more than an hour, beginning at 3:47 p.m., according to the FDNY.

Both fire and police crews responded to the incident when the 23-year-old climbed onto the other side of the roof's safety glass. Rescue workers said that when they got to the observation deck, both the man's legs were dangling off of the side of the ledge.

An amazing image shows two rescue workers with harnesses trying to talk to the man, who was wearing what appeared to be a stars and stripes bandanna around his face, as he sat on the east side of the building.

Two rescuers, Detectives James Coll and Shawn Soler of the NYPD's Emergency Services Unit, donned harnesses and climbed out to the man. Three other detectives aided at the top of the building.

"We were just trying to get him to respond to us as much as possible," Coll said. "If he's responding to us, then he's not jumping."

Soler said he was prepared to grab the man if he attempted to jump.

"What I had to do was engage in conversation with him and try to make him understand that we were there to help him," Soler said.

"This is something that you would only see in a movie," added bus driver Darius Vandemark, who was with a bunch of kids from a Bronx summer camp and watched the scene unfold from the street.

He said that if the man jumped, "It would freak the kids out."

Tourist Carla Pinto, of Rome, was upset that her visit to 30 Rock was ruined by the incident.

"It's sad that someone has to do this and ruin my day and everyone else's," she said. "I hope he gets some help."

An area surrounding the building had been cordoned off, but was later reopened. Rescuers said the man was sorry for the inconvenience he caused.

The man is currently being held in a hospital. Police say that no charges are expected.