Inspectors rappel Washington Monument

Oct. 3, 2011 at 9:56 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Engineers are rappelling the face of the Washington Monument to assess damage from an Aug. 23 earthquake that shook the East Coast, U.S. officials said.

Inspections were temporarily halted Friday after wind gusts blew one of the roped-in workers more than 30 feet, CNN said.

The National Park Police said a climber who works for the Difficult Access Team from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates was lifted by the wind and pushed from the west face of the monument over to the south face. WJE Associates said the man was not injured.

Bob Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, said the heaviest damage to the monument appears to be concentrated at the very top, called the pyramidion, where large cracks have developed through stone and mortar joints. Vogel said rain has leaked into the monument through the cracks and that could cause further damage.

An interior assessment of the monument found it to be structurally sound, CNN said Monday.

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