He Fell 47 Stories and Lived—and He Still Isn't Sure How
Alcides Moreno says he survived to raise his new son
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2017 8:33 AM CDT
Alcides Moreno, center, with the New York Fire Department in 2008.   (AP Photo/FDNY Photo Unit)
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(Newser) – Some say the window washing platform surfed the air. Others, including a rep for the New York City Fire Department, suspect "a higher hand was in control." Even Alcides Moreno isn't sure how he survived a 47-story fall from Manhattan's Solow Building on Dec. 7, 2007. After all, hardly anyone survives even a 10-story fall, notes the BBC, which caught up with Moreno for a rare interview. "I have a new baby," says the 46-year-old father of four while speculating on why he lived. "He must be the reason, to raise this kid and tell him my history." Moreno spent three weeks in a coma after the fall, which left him with injuries to his brain, spine, chest, and abdomen, along with broken ribs, legs, and a broken arm. And yet he lived: “If you are a believer in miracles, this would be one,” said a doctor treating him, per a New York Times story at the time.

Moreno and his brother, Edgar, had been standing on the window washing platform at the top of Solow Tower when the cables holding it "slipped from their attachment point," according to an accident report. An investigation later found the new cables weren't properly fixed to the roof. The left side of the platform dropped first, sending Edgar then Alcides plummeting. But while Edgar's body was severed by a wooden fence, Alcides tried to stand when paramedics found him crouched on the ground, still holding the platform controls. Almost a decade later, Moreno says he's gained much of his health back along with a new appreciation for family. Sometimes he has trouble finishing sentences, and "I can't run, only walk," he tells the BBC. "But thank God I can walk." (This window washer survived an 11-story fall.)

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