US window washer survives 47-storey fall,doctors say recovering fine

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New York, Jan 5 (UNI) If you are a believer in miracles, this would be one! A US window cleaner survived a 500ft free fall from the 47th floor of a New York skyscraper, and doctors attending on him expected him to make good recovery.

Alcides Moreno, who fell 47 storeys, hitting the pavement at the equivalent of around 120 mph, woke up from a month-long coma defying all logic.

His brother Edgar (30) who was working with him, smashed into a fence and was killed instantly.

Moreno's injuries included collapsed lungs, damaged kidneys along with several broken ribs, a broken right arm and broken legs.

Doctors, who performed a surgery on him yesterday to stabilise his spinal column reducing the risk of neurological injury when he begins to move or walk, said everything went smoothly, the New York Times reported.

Moreno, an immigrant from Ecuador, recieved 24 units of blood and several units of blood plasma immediately after the accident.

Nine operations followed to stitch together his body.

Father-of-three Moreno is now able to breathe without assistance and has movement in all his limbs. On Christmas Day he spoke to his family for the first time since the fall.

Head of surgery at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Dr Philip Barie said, ''People who fall more than 10 storeys almost never survive...Forty-seven floors is virtually beyond belief.'' Moreno's wife Rosario said, ''He keeps telling me that it just wasn't his time.'' However, it will be at least a year before doctors know whether the Ecuador immigrant will make a full recovery.

Moreno and his brother Edgar were working on a scaffold at the apartment building at 265 East 66th Street when the platform gave way. At least three agencies were investigating the incident.

Though doctors have not been able to explain how Moreno survived the gigantic fall, officials and window-washing colleagues of the two brothers speculated that they tried to ride their platform to the ground, as one window washer said he had been trained to do in such an accident.

If so, they were relying on basic physics-- the platform would have generated some small amount of wind resistance, slowing the fall-- and luck.

Window washers are taught that if a scaffold gives way, they should lie down flat on the platform, on their stomach because it gives them the best chance of survival should the scaffold catch on something on the way down. Maybe that is what Alcides Moreno did.

UNI XC YA PM1408

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