Terrifying surveillance video has been released showing the moment a worker crashed through a glass floor at the Philadelphia Rodin Museum, falling nearly 40 feet to the ground below.
Engineer Phani Guthula recently settled a lawsuit against the museum for $7.25 million, his lawyers told Philly Voice.
Guthula was working for a consulting contractor, ICF International, on November 26, 2012, when he fell 38 feet through the glass floor. He suffered multiple fractures and other traumatic injuries, the Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett and Bendesky law firm said in a press release. He was hospitalized for 45 days and had more than 15 surgeries. He will require lifelong medical care, his lawyers said.
The museum was open to the public when the accident occurred. The 44-second surveillance video clip, released by Guthula’s lawyers, shows the engineer slamming into the ground as a museum visitor sits nearby.
“One of the Rodin’s most famous sculptures is titled Gates of Hell,” said Larry Bendesky, one of his attorneys, said in a press release. “The chilling picture of Phani Guthula falling nearly to his death could have the same title; his life has been a living hell every day since his fall. His accident was totally preventable had those responsible for his safety just done their job.”
Another attorney, David Kwass, said in a statement, “Guard railings installed to keep people off the glass floor were not in place, security personnel who escorted him to the site were uninformed and inattentive, and there was no signage to warn against a fall hazard to which everyone – after the accident – agreed existed when he almost met his death.”
The museum also released a statement:
The Museum confirms that it has participated in the settlement of a dispute related to the tragic accident in 2012 at the Rodin Museum. Contrary to the press release issued by the lawyers for the plaintiff, the settlement involved several parties in addition to the Museum. Unfortunately, the lawyers’ press release contains other inaccurate statements about the accident — most notably the incorrect assertion that the Museum had not provided appropriate signage and other safety precautions in the attic spaces of the Rodin Museum.