By Jeff Wilkins and John Lauinger
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
It was the miracle on ... Eighth Ave.
A lucky hardhat remarkably survived an eight-story plunge in Manhattan Thursday after a scaffolding plank snapped underneath him, officials and co-workers said.
Jose Paulino, 29, plummeted from the 16th floor of a Garment District building on Eighth Ave. at 38th St. - but cheated death when he landed on his back on scaffolding eight floors below, police and a Buildings Department official said.
Paulino was conscious and had feeling in all limbs when emergency responders arrived and rushed him to St. Vincent's Hospital Manhattan, fellow hardhats at the scene told the Daily News.
Workers had previously performed facade repair on the 20-story building at 580 Eighth Ave., said Buildings Department spokeswoman Carly Sullivan.
The accident happened about 2 p.m. as "workers were in the process of dismantling the scaffolding," Sullivan said.
Paulino stepped onto the plank shortly before it gave way, co-workers said.
The general contractor, Dry New York, Inc., was immediately forced to halt work at the site, Sullivan said. The company did not return a call for comment Thursday night.
Paulino was in stable condition at St. Vincent's last night, a police source said, but the extent of his injuries was not immediately clear.
His family and friends, some in tears, huddled in the emergency room last night, but refused to comment.
As of Thursday, the building had 47 open violations, according to the Buildings Department Web site.