Empire State Building Fall: Man Survives Tumble From Observation Deck

Friday, 26 Apr 2013 11:53 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A man fell from the observation deck of the Empire State Building Wednesday night only to land on a catwalk one floor below.

Nathaniel Simone (also reported as Nathaniel Fimone), 33, of Hamilton, Mass., reportedly climbed a security gate around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday before falling off the edge of the observation deck of the 102-story Manhattan skyscraper. As tourists watched in horror, Simone landed one floor below.

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"He jumped from the 86th floor and landed on a catwalk just below it, between the 86th and 85th floors," New York Police Department Detective Mark Nell told ABCNews.com.

Witnesses said he appeared to then straddle the edge of the catwalk, as if preparing to jump from it, but security guards quickly restrained him.

Simone suffered a broken ankle and was taken to New York's Bellevue Hospital in police custody.

Police said it's not yet clear whether the man's fall was intentional or not.

"He was in his own world, like he was lost," Luis Ariel Jofre, a witness, told the New York Daily News. "He was calm looking down, like it was nothing, but it was 80 stories high."

Simone is now facing charges of reckless endangerment, criminal trespass, and disorderly conduct, according to Nell.

Over the years, more than 30 people have committed suicide by jumping off the Empire State Building. A fence was put up around the observatory terrace in 1947 after five people tried to jump during a three-week span.

On May 1, 1947, 23-year-old Evelyn McHale jumped to her death from the 86th floor observation deck, landing on a United Nations limousine that was parked at the curb. A famous image of her body was snapped by photography student Robert Wiles.

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