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Glass ledge on 103rd floor cracks with family standing on it

Terrifying: One of the four boxes of The Ledge, the 103rd floor tourist attraction atop Chicago's Willis Tower, appeared to show cracks Wednesday night
Terrifying: One of the four boxes of The Ledge, the 103rd floor tourist attraction atop Chicago's Willis Tower, appeared to show cracks Wednesday night
Photo by: NBC Chicago

Would your life flash before your eyes if the glass ledge you were standing on 1,353 feet above the ground started to crack? For a California family it did exactly that when the glass ledge started to crack under their feet reported the Chicago Tribune on May 29, 2014.

Alejandro Garibay, 23, from Stockton, California, was visiting Chicago with his brother and two cousins and stopped by Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, for breathtaking views. However, they hadn’t realized just how breathtaking the views would be.

Garibay and his family were sitting on a glass ledge on the 103rd floor Ledge taking in views of the Chicago skyline when they heard the glass cracking.

“I had my palms on the floor and I could feel it cracking,” said Garibay.

“Honestly, I was in shock, in disbelief. I was scared.”

“It was an awesome view,” Garibay said. “We were getting up and walking away and for some reason I thought it would be cool to get a picture of my cousins and brother."

”Then we started getting off and, as we push ourselves off, I could feel it cracking. It was completely shattering ... I was just thinking to myself, ‘This is not happening. This is not supposed to happen."

Garibay’s cousin, Antonio Saldana echoed his sentiments.

“One of the craziest feelings I had in my life,” said Garibay’s cousin Antonio Saldana. “I thought I was going to fall through.”

Garibay and his family quickly got off the Ledge.

"I looked down and I could see it cracking and lines going through the glass so we immediately just jumped off as fast as we could," Garibay reported CNN.

The Ledge attraction at Willis Tower on the 103rd floor is four glass boxes that extend four feet out from the building overlooking the city of Chicago.

However, official at Willis Tower state the family wasn’t in danger and that it was the protective coating covering the glass that started to crack versus the glass itself reported ABC News.

Mike Swanberg, president and CEO of MTH Industries, the glass and architectural firm that installed the Ledge at Willis Tower, issued a statement regarding the incident.

The protective coating’s “sole purpose is to protect the structural glass from being scratched.”

“It allows people to walk on the Ledge and get the full effect without putting booties on.”

Swanberg stated that the protective coating has gotten cracked in the past – three times in the last five years – and is replaced every six to nine months.

Bill Utter, a spokesman for Willis Tower, also released a statement.

"At no time whatsoever was the integrity of the structure compromised," he said.

"The protective layer did exactly what it was supposed to do," Utter said.

Saldana had visited the Ledge several times in the past without incident.

“I told them this was one of the things they definitely had to check out,” he said. “They're giving me heck about it now.”

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