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Cracks Appear Beneath Feet Of Willis Tower Tourists

A family visiting Chicago got quite the scare during a visit to Willis Tower's Ledge attraction, where the glass appeared to crack.
Posted at 3:22 PM, May 29, 2014

Here's something that would definitely scare the pants off of us.

"Skydeck scare. It's a sight that just makes you shudder. One of those Willis Tower observation windows high above Chicago cracked with people on it." (Via WOOD)

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the glass enclosure that sticks out of the side of Willis Tower, otherwise known as The Ledge, looked like it was starting to shatter as a California family posed for a photo on it Wednesday night.

But thankfully, officials told reporters the scary-looking crack formed only in The Ledge's protective coating — not in the glass itself. Phew.

A Willis Tower spokesperson told WBBM"The Ledge was designed with a protective coating that completely covers all glass surfaces to protect against scratches. This coating does not affect the structural integrity of The Ledge in any way. Occasionally, the coating will crack, as it is designed to in order to protect the surface of the glass."

But that didn't stop the poor family standing on the popular tourist attraction from freaking out a little.

Alejandro Garibay, who was on The Ledge taking pictures with his brother and cousin, told the Chicago Tribune for a second, he thought "there was only cracked glass between us and 103 floors down."

His brother Ernesto says he was just as scared.

"While I'm sitting down, all I see is the ledge to the glass. So I see that part crack, and I immediately hop off. I literally ran to the other side of the building." (Via WMAQ)

The Skydeck itself remained open to visitors Thursday while crews worked to replace the cracked protective coating. But WMAQ reports the four Ledge boxes were closed for what officials say is a routine inspection of the attraction.

The Ledge opened back in 2009, and engineers say the glass is composed of three layers of glass, with each layer measuring in at about half an inch thick. They were built to hold up to 5 tons of weight.