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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 January 2008, 01:02 GMT
US worker survives 47-storey fall
The skyscraper in Manhattan from which Alcides Moreno fell
An inquiry into the accident at the building in E 66 St is under way

A New York window cleaner who survived a 47-storey fall from a skyscraper last month is making a gradual recovery - in what doctors say is a "miracle".

Alcides Moreno, 37, tumbled some 500ft (150m) to the ground in a scaffolding accident that killed his brother.

Mr Moreno suffered severe brain, spine and abdomen injuries and both his legs, his right arm and ribs were broken.

But after undergoing a series of surgeries he is now awake, able to talk and is expected to walk again.

"If you are a believer in miracles, this would be one," Dr Philip Barie, a surgeon at New York's Presbyterian Hospital where Mr Moreno is being treated, was quoted as saying by the New York Times newspaper.

"Above 10 floors, most of the time we never see the patients because they usually go to the morgue... this is right up there with those anecdotes of people falling out of airplanes and surviving," Dr Barie said.

'What did I do?'

Mr Moreno, an immigrant from Ecuador, plummeted from the Manhattan skyscraper on 7 December, when a platform on which he was working came loose. His younger brother died instantly in the fall.

An investigation into the cause of the accident is under way.

Immediately after the accident Mr Moreno received 24 units of blood and several units of blood plasma. Nine operations followed to stitch together his broken body.

But now doctors say that now Mr Moreno has movement in all his limbs and is able to talk.

His wife, Rosario, said that one day he even reached out and stroked the face of one of the nurses.

"I looked at him and said, 'You're not supposed to do that. I'm your wife, you touch your wife'," Mrs Moreno was quoted by the New York Times as saying.

She said his answer was: "What did I do?"

Dr Barie said that "although there is more work to be done, we are very optimistic for his prospects for survival".

Mr Moreno still has to undergo several surgeries in the coming weeks.

The medical team, however, warns that there is still a chance he could develop serious complications.

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