Pa. FFs Rescue Worker From Bridge

DONORA, Pa. --

A paramedic who helped rescue a worker after he fell off the Donora/Monessen Bridge on Monday said it was the hardest rescue of his career.

First responders said the worker was sandblasting when he lost his footing and fell 50 feet from the bridge.

The worker, whose name has not been released, is in stable condition at Allegheny General Hospital.

"He was conscious the entire time. Which is pretty amazing from where he fell," paramedic Sean Cummings said.

The victim fell onto a concrete pier into containment netting that is used to catch debris from the sandblasting.

After more than an hour, rescue crews were finally able to reach him and got a basket ready to lower down to him.

Channel 11's Julie Fine talked to Paul Buchko, a first responder who was lowered down with the basket. "He was able to tell me all he wanted was a drink of water," Buchko said.

Buchko dangled on a rope attached to the basket. "Nothing really dangerous, even through it looked like it was because I am hanging off of a rope for the most part. I am enjoying the view around me," Buchko said.

Once the worker was hoisted down by emergency crews, the man was treated on the ground by paramedics.

"It could have been a lot worse. He just missed a beam and a half inch steel cable coming down. He was very lucky," Buchko said.

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