Firefighter survives 6-story fall down elevator shaft onto burning trash

Fellow firefighters were shocked that he survived with only a bruised hip; he narrowly missed two poles

DURBAN, South Africa — A firefighter in full PPE survived a six-story fall into an elevator shaft engulfed in flames while trying to rescue a homeless man.

GulfNews reported that firefighter Malusi Mncube, who works for the Durban Fire Department, emerged from the elevator shaft with only a bruised hip after being saved by his colleagues.

“The shaft was dark and there was smoke ... it’s incredible that he survived and suffered only minor injuries,” said Max Magnussen, the acting fire chief.

Firefighter Mncube spent three hours inside the scorching shaft with the body of a homeless man he was trying to rescue, according to the report. The homeless man died of injuries from the fall and smoke inhalation.

“I’m gobsmacked, he fell six stories onto a bed of burning debris in a sealed concrete tube, and he’s basically okay,” firefighter Justin Bateman said. “I could feel the heat standing six floors above.”

Firefighter Bateman said Mncube crashed on a pile of burning garbage, narrowly missing two sharp metal poles.

“If he didn’t happen to have breathing apparatus with him, he would not have survived 10 minutes down there — the smoke was trapped thick in that tube,” he added. 

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