Miracle On Upper East Side
Miracles don’t just belong to the Biblical age, they are very much alive and well today. Just ask Alcides Moreno who survived a fall from the 47th floor of a skyscraper in New York. To put that into perspective it is estimated only 50% of those who fall from three storeys survive; while hardly any at all live to tell the tale after falling from 10 floors. Mr Moreno and his brother Edgar were cleaning the windows of the Solow Tower building in Manhattan’s Upper East side on 7 December 2007 when the cables holding up the 16ft washing platform became detached. “On the left side the cable came off first. That was my brother’s part. My brother fell off, all the way down,” Alcides Moreno recalls. Sadly Edgar did not survive the fall. “Losing him was a big deal for me,” Alcides Moreno explained later. “Edgar lived with me in New Jersey, and we shared a lot of things. He worked with me and died working with me. I believe I felt melancholic for about three years. That’s how long it took me to recover and accept his death. It was like losing a child, because he was younger than me.” Soon after Edgar had fallen off Alcides’ side of the platform broke loose and he too started hurtling down. But amazingly firefighters found him breathing among the wreckage of the platform. Suffering from injuries to his brain and spine as well as multiple fractures, he was rushed to hospital where he was put into an induced coma, underwent multiple operations and received 24 pints of blood. Against the odds he survived. “If you’re looking for a medical miracle, this certainly qualifies,” Dr Herbert Pardes, the then president and CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital told a press conference at the time. “The survival rate even from a four-storey fall is not very good”. Lots of theories have been put forward to try to explain how Alcides survived the fall from holding tight to the scaffold so that it took the brunt of the impact, to the platform surfing the air but it is hard to argue with what Dr Glenn Asaeda from the New York City Fire Department said “A higher hand was in control here.” Why? Alcides thinks he has the answer, “I used to think a lot about me and only me…I would provide for the family and think that was good enough. Then I realised how important my wife and kids are. I keep asking myself why I lived. I have a new baby – he must be the reason, to raise this kid and tell him my history.” Hard to argue with that.