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Construction worker dies after falling from 53rd floor of LA skyscraper

The electrician had removed his hard hat, construction company officials said.

The Wilshire Grand Center yesterday
The Wilshire Grand Center yesterday
Image: KTLA/Screengrab

AN ELECTRICIAN WHO plunged to his death while working on a Los Angeles skyscraper was not supposed to be above the third floor and had removed his hard hat before falling 53 floors, construction company officials said.

The man, who was in his second day on the project, fell about 800 feet from the unfinished Wilshire Grand Center around noon yesterday and either hit the back edge of a passing car or struck nearby.

Once finished, the building will be the tallest in the West.

It happened at one of the busiest times of day at one of the busiest intersections in downtown Los Angeles, when the streets were thronged with people.

He had taken off his hard hat and had not been wearing a safety harness because it wasn’t required for the bottom floors he was working on, said Lisa Gritzner, spokeswoman for Turner Construction, the main contractor on the project.

She could say no more about what may have caused the man to fall or why he was on the upper floor. His name has not been released.

Los Angeles Times photographer Mel Melcon, who was on assignment at the building, said he heard the man hit the ground.

“No one thought it was a body,” Melcon told his paper.

We heard no screams.

Skyscraper

The electrician hit the car near the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Figueroa Street, fire officials said. However, the car appeared to be undamaged. A rear side panel was spattered with blood.

James Armstrong III was walking to a nearby bank just after the fall when he saw police helping the driver.

“She was hysterical,” waving her hands in the air and holding her head, he said. But she did not seem to be hurt, Armstrong said.

The woman was taken to a hospital to be examined, fire officials said.

The 73-storey skyscraper will be about 1,100 feet tall when it’s completed.

A ceremony was held earlier this month when the top beam was hoisted into place on the 73rd floor. The $1 billion office and hotel tower being developed by Korean Airlines Co. Ltd. is expected to open in early 2017.

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