2 workers rescued after scaffolding collapse in Miami Beach

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Two workers have been brought to safety after the scaffolding they were on collapsed in Miami Beach.

Miami Beach Fire Rescue crews responded to the scene at 3 Island Ave., on the Venetian Causeway, across the street from the Standard Hotel, just before 10 a.m., Friday.

The workers were on the scaffolding working on the side of a residential building when it collapsed.

“The scaffolding was hanging by one side,” said one witness. “The two guys who were on it were hanging by their safety harnesses up against the building.”

Jim Clearwater, who lives directly across the building, said he heard the victims yelling for help.

“I heard noise, so I went out on the balcony, and right opposite me was this scaffolding, and it was coming down out of control,” he said.

Clearwater said he dialed 911 as he watched the tense moments unfold.

“The guys there were like yelling and screaming,” he said. “They were afraid. I mean, they were like holding on, you know.”

7SkyForce HD hovered over the scene as tactical crew members worked to rescue one of the workers.

“Their system, which is on their scaffold, got caught up the netting on the outside,” said Miami Beach Fire Rescue Chief Digna Abello.

Abello said this is the type of incident her team prepares for.

“Our crews are very verse-trained in all areas,” Abello said. “We just put them on a bucket, and we got them downstairs.”

Crews were able to get both men down to the ground in about 40 minutes. Both workers are said to be OK.

“A little shaken up, and that’s about it, but other than that they’re good,” Abello said.

Area residents said construction in the building where the incident took place has been going on for several months.

A spokesperson for Coast to Coast General Contractors Inc., the company in charge of the construction project, issued a statement that reads in part, “Initial reviews reveal one of two lift motors seized, leaving lift occupants suspended at an angle for a time, Normally both lift motors are synchronized, and if one fails as in this case, the other motor stops immediately. Why that did not happen in this case is being investigated. All similar equipment has been placed out of service until a full inspection and review can be performed by our safety crew and the equipment supplier/manufacturer.”

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