The Ledge enclosure at Willis Tower cracks under Californian tourists feet and left confused as to why there was no warning.
A sudden cracking while inside one of four The Ledge glass enclosures on Willis Tower in Chicago scared tourists from Stockton, Cali. The Ledge is located on the 103rd floor of the building and located on the Skydeck.
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The Chicago Tribune reports on Wednesday evening, the tourists were frightened over the noise because no one informed guests of the possibilities of cosmetic issues on the glass. Taylor Goldstein, “Willis Tower Ledge to remain closed until repairs are made," provides background and context to the feature.
Alejandro Garibay, 23, had no idea about the cracking feature and felt "there was only cracked glass between us and 103 floors down." His cousin, Antonio Saldana, felt the two were "was going to fall through."
"I had my palms on the floor and I could feel it cracking," said Garibay, who leaving the enclosure after taking a picture with his cousin and two friends. "Honestly, I was in shock, in disbelief. I was scared." Typically, the boxes hold roughly 4.5 metric tons of weight, so the cracking was surprising. Understandably, the Californian felt worried as the enclosure extends four feet outside the Skydesk and into open air as well.
The spokesman for the Tower, Bill Utter, explained, "This protective coating occasionally cracks. Usually when someone has something sharp in their pocket and it gets poked." He reiterated that the coating "did what it was designed to do” when protecting the glass from scratches. Utter claims "there was never any structural problem with the floor" and hopes the family comes back. The negative press may put some tourists off, however.
Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, is the second tallest building in the United States, and was the tallest for nearly 25 years. Only the One World Trade Center in New York City is higher. One World is built over the former site of the World Trade Center, which collapsed as planes flew into it on 9/11.
WGN, a local channel in Chicago that broadcasts nationally, has announced The Ledge enclosures should be open late Thursday after the piece is replaced. The station’s reporter Nancy Loo reminds visitors Skydeck Chicago remains open for tourists to observe the many sights of Chicago. And according to Goldstein’s interview, Garibay and company were in the glass enclosure to observe the fireworks on Navy Pier.
As national news covers the precautionary measure about the shattered coating of the Willis Tower, Twitter exploded with commentary and criticism. Many tweets confirmed that some people are considering not sitting in the observation boxes. However, the Skydeck brings in roughly 1.3 million tourists a year.