It took nearly an hour for rescue workers to lower a man more than nine stories after scaffolding collapsed, leaving the painter dangling off the side of the Grand Bay Resort in Key Biscayne, Florida.
At around 3 p.m. Thursday (March 23) the painter, who has not been publicly identified, was positioned outside of the 12th floor of the resort working on the building’s exterior. Officials say the scaffolding’s motor malfunctioned, allowing the structure to tilt and leave the worker dangling from his safety harness, which was anchored to the top of the building.
At that point, the man was hanging near the ninth floor windows and was able to keep one foot on a ledge and talk to crews on an adjacent balcony as Miami Fire Rescue’s technical rescue team worked to get him down.
“The fact that he’s able to keep at least one leg on that ledge which is helping to take some of the stress off of the rope definitely is working in his favor and it helps us out as we assess the situation because we’re not sure from the incident whether or not the safety equipment could compromise a little,” Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll said during the rescue.
Because the man was entangled in his harness, it was tricky to get him down, officials said. Response team members had to repel down to the man, secure him and then repel with him to ground level.
“He was stable. He was constantly communicating with us, and we were able to establish a great rapport and maintain him while he was calm,” said another rescue official.
After the man was lowered, he was placed on a stretcher and taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center where he was treated for dehydration.
The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed to D+D News on Friday (March 24) that an investigation of the incident is ongoing.