Rescued from crane 100m above blaze
Video of a helicopter rescue in Canada shows a construction worker being winched to safety from the end of a crane as the apartment building below him is engulfed in flames.PT0M45S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2zk0f 620 349 December 18, 2013
A crane operator has been plucked to safety by a hovering helicopter in a daring rescue in Canada after flames engulfed his rig, trapping him high above the ground for 90 terrifying minutes.
Dozens of firefighters were called to the large blaze at a construction site in downtown Kingston, Ontario, but could not reach the crane operator, who was photographed standing desperately at the end of the crane, 100 metres above the ground, with no way out as intense flames engulfed the machinery below him.
Construction workers feared the crane could topple at any moment, said CKWS Newswatch journalist Morganne Campbell, who was tweeting from the scene.
December 17, 2013
Dramatic rescue: a crane operator, pictured in the distance, top left, was trapped for 90 minutes. Photo by @BruceCadieux on Twitter used with permission.
A rescue helicopter was called in from a nearby defence base, and was photographed hovering above the crane and winching the unidentified worker to safety in an incredible rescue.
He was taken to hospital with only minor injuries, Kingston Police told CBC News.
The fire at a student housing apartment block, which was under construction, started about 2.30pm on Tuesday (6.30am Wednesday, AEDT), with the helicopter rescuing the stranded worker just before 4pm.
Mark Gerretsen, the mayor of Kingston, tweeted that ‘‘based on unconfirmed reports all construction personal are accounted for and safe’’.
He also tweeted a photograph of the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton helicopter plucking the construction worker to safety.
‘‘A massive thank you on behalf of the people of Kingston to CFB Trenton,’’ he wrote.
Kingston resident Bruce Cadieu said he heard about the fire and immediately headed to the site with a group of people.
The went to the roof of a building overlooking the are and saw the crane operator edging away from the flames.
"We weren’t there for too long because it’s -30 degrees outside, but the fire had definitely gone up right through the base of the crane, so the crane operator’s had to move pretty much all the way out to the edge. Luckily he was able to do that, because otherwise the worst would have happened," he said.
"It’s quite the scene. I’m only 26 so I haven’t seen this my entire life.
"You see stuff on the television and on the internet, but never in person and that’s one of the reasons we went over. It was something that was just so incredible, and a tragedy in town. It was a new development that was going up for student housing in an area of town that was being revived by the city so it’s pretty sad to have a year’s work of construction all of a sudden disappear."
Lieutenant Bettina McCulloch-Drake, from CFB Trenton, told the National Post it had taken 55 minutes to rescue the man from the time they received a call alerting them to the danger.
“It was a tower crane operator that was stranded 100 metres above the ground. And the man, he was hoisted aboard the Griffon helicopter and transported to an ambulance,” she said.
Andrew Yaworski, who lives a few blocks from the scene, told CTV News Channel that a four-storey student residence building under construction was destroyed in the fire.
“It’s completely gone,” he said.
Residents within 500 metres of the building were evacuated as a precaution.