Fire Crews Use Gondola For River Rescue

Author: Annie Bishop, KXLY4 Reporter , annieb@kxly.com
Published On: Sep 12 2011 11:20:56 AM PDT   Updated On: Dec 29 2010 06:26:36 AM PST
SPOKANE, Wash. -

The winter weather made for a dramatic river rescue underneath the Monroe Street Bridge Wednesday afternoon.

Just after 3 p.m. someone in the library across the river spotted a man in the water underneath the bridge. That person called 9-1-1 which led to a quick rescue by the Spokane Fire Department.

Once rescue crews arrived, the man was able to pull himself out of the water was but unable to make it up the slippery rocks above.

Crews lowered a rope and within 20 minutes the man pulled himself up to safety. Fire crews then wrapped him in a blanket and loaded him onto a gondola.

Spokane Fire Battalion Chief Steve Sabo said rescue crews train on the gondola year round for all different scenarios, including what unfolded in the Spokane River Wednesday.

?It worked out well, it was a perfect location for us and it definitely was the best option other than try to, certainly would've been better than trying to haul him up the bank, that would've been a technical rescue, involved a lot of rope, lot more work and a lot more time,? Sabo said.

Sabo believes the man was heavily intoxicated and may be homeless.

The man told rescuers he slipped into the rocks while walking along the river.

He was taken by ambulance to the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.