Glass Floor More Than 1,000 Feet In The Air Cracks Under Tourists At Chicago’s Willis Tower

Officials at the Chicago skyscraper insist no one was in danger.

1. The Willis Tower in Chicago has four transparent boxes that extend out from the building on the 103rd floor.

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

2. “The Ledge” is a hugely popular tourist destination and since opening in 2009, some six million people have ventured into the boxes to admire the panoramic views.

AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato

The see-through bays are said to be able to withstand a weight of five tonnes.

3. On Wednesday evening, Alejandro Garibay, second from right, sat out in one of the boxes with his brother Ernesto, right, and cousins David Cazares, left, and Antonio Saldana.

AP Photo/Alejandro Galibay

The four men had headed up to the 103rd floor to watch a fireworks display.

However, while they were out in the box they heard an unnerving cracking sound.

4. Garibay told the Chicago Tribune: “I had my palms on the floor and I could feel it cracking. Honestly, I was in shock, in disbelief. I was scared.”

AP Photo/Alejandro Galibay

Saldana told CBS Chicago: “All of us collectively start getting up, and it’s at that point that we hear and feel the glass start shattering. Mind you, this is happening in an instant. Incredibly fast.

“We see it completely just shatter all the way through, and at that point, all four of us just completely rushed right out of it.”

5. Willis Tower officials later claimed it wasn’t the glass that cracked, just its protective coating.

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

6. Willis Tower spokesman Bill Utter said: “At no time whatsoever was the integrity of the structure compromised.”

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

“The protective layer did exactly what it was supposed to do.”

7. Following the incident, “The Ledge” was closed for a period of time on Thursday.

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

8. A post on the viewing platform’s Facebook page said officials had replaced the protective coating on the affected box.

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

9. So everyone can now go back to the terrifying prospect of standing in a glass box sticking out from the side of a skyscraper.

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

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Richard James is the UK news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
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