TORONTO – A woman who got stuck atop part of a construction crane in downtown Toronto for hours was rescued Wednesday morning after being strapped to a rappelling firefighter and lowered to the ground.
Streets in the area were blocked off and bystanders packed nearby sidewalks to watch the dramatic operation unfold.
The woman had been perched on a gently swaying large pulley device — measuring only about 15 centimetres by 60 centimetres — for at least four hours and was clinging to a steel cable when a rescuer reached her.
“It’s an outstanding success,” Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said of the operation. “We train for this, although we’ve never seen one like this before.”
Pegg said crews were called to the scene at a construction site on Wellesley Street near Yonge Street at about 4 a.m.
A rescue worker began climbing up the crane around 6 a.m. and rappelled down to the woman on the pulley device around 8 a.m., Pegg said.
The firefighter then carefully strapped himself to the woman and the pair were slowly lowered onto the ground about half an hour later. Cheers erupted from the gathered crowd as their feet hit the ground.
The woman was then handcuffed by police and was handed over to paramedics.
“She was brought down safely, she didn’t appear to be in any distress,” Pegg said. “This was a very technical, very complex rescue.”
Fire crews have said there was no immediate indication as to why the woman climbed atop the crane.
They believe, however, that she had climbed up the crane, crawled out on to the end of it, and slid down a cable to the large pulley device she got stranded on.
Toronto police said the woman is facing a mischief charge.