LOS ANGELES – An electrician in his second day working on a downtown Los Angeles skyscraper that will be the tallest building in the West plunged some 800 feet to his death Thursday.
The unidentified worker fell around noon from Wilshire Grand Center onto the back edge of a passing car. It happened at one of the busiest times of day at one of the busiest intersections in downtown Los Angeles, when the streets were thronged with people.
The electrician hit the trunk of the car, which was sitting at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Figueroa Street.
James Armstrong III was walking to a nearby bank just after the accident when he saw police helping the driver.
“She was hysterical,” waving her hands in the air and holding her head but she did not seem to be hurt, he said.
The white car seemed undamaged but its tail end was spattered with blood, he said.
The woman was taken to a hospital to be examined, city fire officials said.
The 73-story skyscraper will be about 1,100 feet tall, or nearly a quarter-mile, when it’s completed. A ceremony was held earlier this month when the top beam was hoisted into place on the 73rd floor. The $1 billion office and hotel tower being developed by Korean Airlines Co. Ltd. is expected to open in early 2017.
The building is near the Staples Center arena where the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers play and is at the center of the bustling and fast-growing financial district of downtown.
Chris Martin, CEO of Martin Project Management which is supervising the construction, says there were barricades around the edge of the building and other safety measures in place.
He and police did not immediately say whether the man had a safety harness on as is required on the project. Martin said there was no electrical work he knew of that would have taken the man near the edge. The floor from which he fell, the 53rd, has no windows.
Martin said all of the building’s 891 workers had undergone training.
“There’s safety training for every worker on the job, and certain locations there’s very specialized training. So these are all smart people,” Martin said. “We had no injuries up to this date.”
Work has been shut down for the day.