November 18, 2008

Prof testifies in Empire State stunt case

A professor says it's possible for an object falling from the top of New York City's Empire State Building to hit the ground despite it's wedding-cake shape.

New York University physics Professor David Grier, however, told a jury Monday an object -- such as stunt-parachutist Jeb Corliss -- would have to be propelled sideways, perhaps by a 10-mph gust of wind, when leaving the building's observation deck, the New York Post reported.

Grier's observation is germane because New York prosecutors have charged Corliss with endangering public safety when he tried to parachute off the Empire State Building two years ago. Corliss says the shape of the building would have prevented him from reaching the sidewalks below.

A 10-mph breeze could have blown Corliss sideways far enough for him to clear the lower parts of the building, Grier told Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber, adding, that's roughly the speed with which you would swing a hammer, the newspaper reported.