The daredevil engineers who captivated tourists and residents by rappelling down the Washington Monument to inspect it for earthquake damage began a similar operation at the National Cathedral Monday.
Emma Cardini and Katie Francis, members of the Difficult Access Team from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, began rappelling down a 234-foot tower at the front of the cathedral shortly after 1 p.m. The engineers are looking for damage caused by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that shook the nation's capital on Aug. 23.
The cathedral also sustained damage during Hurricane Irene a few days later.
Cardini and Francis are using cameras, cell phones and iPads to record apparent damage to the exterior of the cathedral.
Last week, stone masons removed 2 tons of stonework from a pinnacle of the cathedral that had been damaged. Three of the four pinnacles on the central tower, which date to 1963, were severely damaged in the earthquake.
The cathedral has been closed since the earthquake but is scheduled to reopen Nov. 12.