(YONKERS, N.Y.) -- A scaffold collapse on Friday left two high-rise workers dangling from ropes 12 stories above the ground before they were saved in a dramatic rush-hour rescue.
The two men were painting the exterior of a Yonkers, New York, apartment building when their scaffolding snapped, triggering a terrifying rescue attempt.
"I heard one of them scream,” said eyewitness Dennis Richmond. “He screamed ‘help!’”
But help didn’t arrive right away. The men clutched the tangled scaffolding – their only lifeline – as temperatures dipped and hypothermia began to set in.
Firefighters arrived, but first had to develop a plan. Rescuers tried a ladder – they extended it to its max – but it came two stories short.
Firemen repelled from the roof of the building, 26 stories up, working tirelessly to rescue the men before dark.
Firefighter Mike Giroux used his own harness to wrangle in one of the workers.
"Once I get down to the victim I hook them up to my line so I know that I have them,” Giroux said. “If their line fails I have them. They are not going anywhere."
With one of the men safe, Giroux went back up to rescue the remaining worker.
After more than an hour, both painters were finally safe, thanks to what turned out to be a picture perfect rescue mission.
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