Workers rescued outside 46th floor of Manhattan skyscraper

·William Holt

Two window washers were rescued on Tuesday outside the 46th floor of a midtown Manhattan skyscraper after their scaffolding collapsed, trapping the workers 500 feet in the air for more than an hour.

A New York Police Department spokesman told NBC New York that police had worked to cut open a window on the 44th floor of the Hearst Tower to pull the men to safety. The block in front of the building on 57th Street and Eighth Avenue was shut down for traffic as police and fire crews crowded in to assist in the rescue and helicopters circled overhead.

Onlookers said the two workers were men and the scaffolding they worked on appeared to have bent in half.

A man named Nick who described himself as an engineer from a building across the street said the men had attempted unsuccessfully to break a window in the building to escape.

One woman watching the rescue didn't seem to understand the seriousness of the situation: "They're probably looking down at us, saying, 'What a crowd!'"