Chattanooga High-Angle Team at Work

Chattanooga firefighters had to use their special high-angle rescue team to get a sick construction worker to the hospital. He was atop a 105-foot tower crane at the Chickamauga Lock construction site around 10 a.m. when he suddenly fell ill, and was having difficulty breathing.

He was in no shape to climb back down from the tower, so co-workers called 9-1-1.

The Chattanooga Fire Department brought in several fire and rescue units, including Ladder 1, its 104-foot aerial. Since the tower crane is 105 feet high, the rescue team had to set up a rope system and lower the victim in a Stokes basket several feet to the firefighters on the aerial. The firefighters then lowered the aerial to the ground and at 11:27 a.m., handed the victim off to paramedics with Hamilton County EMS.

The victim was transported by EMS to Erlanger Medical Center. Tactical Service Chief Mack Moore said the victim was conscious and alert throughout the rescue operation.

The victim, a 41-year-old male, works for C.J. Mahan Construction Company. Some of his co-workers on the crane helped Chattanooga firefighters and EMS personnel with the rescue operation.

Another company, Nichols Concrete Equipment, brought in its 150-foot crane as a backup, in case the initial rescue operation failed. Fortunately, it was not needed.