Man survives 6-story fall

MILWAUKEE, WI It never did.

"I kept falling," 21-year-old Alex Clay said in a phone interview Tuesday night from Luther Hospital in Eau Claire. "It all happened so fast. I kept waiting. When's it going to catch?

"There's a little roof over the entryway. I bounced off of that and then hit the pavement."

Authorities in Eau Claire, located in west-central Wisconsin about 70 miles east of Minneapolis-St. Paul, said equipment apparently helped break the man's fall from the U.S. Bank building just after 3 p.m. Tuesday.

But Clay said it didn't slow him down much.

Still, he said doctors determined his main injury was a shattered bone on the arch side of his left foot. He said he also had six staples in his leg because he cut it on something as he fell.

"I remember the entire fall all the way down," he said.

He said the problem developed when he noticed a clip on his gear for rappelling wasn't fastened.

"But I was trying not to panic because I had my safety line connected on the back of my harness," he said.

A maintenance man and his co-worker tried to pull him back up, but he was too sweaty and tired to make it, he said.

"I was hanging on for dear life at that time, even though I had the safety line on."

That's when he let go.

He said he had worked for Bob Smith Window Cleaning about four months, but he doesn't plan on working high buildings again for some time.

His mother, Susan Frederick, said she'll object if he tries.

"It's just so amazing -- and then to find out that he's going to be OK is just so fantastic," she said from the hospital.

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