Orlando Sentinel

Worker rescued from 22-foot fall
By Alexi Howk and Rene Stutzman | Sentinel Staff Writers
Posted April 16, 2003

SANFORD -- A construction worker installing a liner inside a newly built sewage lift station fell nearly 20 feet to the bottom of the giant concrete cylinder Tuesday, prompting a dramatic fire department rescue.

Sherwood Dryden Jr., 38, of Hernando, was in stable condition Tuesday evening at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

It was not clear what injuries he suffered, but he appeared tohave landedatop a 4-inch-long bolt sticking out of a pipe at the bottom, paramedics said.

Dryden was inside the hole, standing on either a ladder or a scaffold, when he slipped and fell to the bottom, Fire Inspector Tim Robles said.

Two co-workers quickly climbed down to tend to him. They were joined by two fire department paramedics, who said Dryden was conscious, coherent and cooperative.

"He was totally stable, totally with it," said Lt. John Smith of the Sanford Fire Department. Dryden also was "cold and wet and wanted to get out."

About an inch of water had accumulated in the cylinder from recent rains. The cylinder is 22 feet deep and 12 feet in diameter, Smith said.

Smith and paramedic Shawn Treloar strapped Dryden to a metal body basket, and firefighter John Ludwig, standing up top, pulled him out on a rope.

Dryden was flown by helicopter to ORMC.

The rescue, at a lift station that is to be put into service in about two months, took about an hour.

Alexi Howk can be reached at ahowk@orlandosentinel.com or 407-322-7669. Rene Stutzman can be reached at rstutzman@orlandosentinel.com or 407-324-7294.