Firefighters make high-angle rescues in Calif. crane mishap

Fire Capt. Jackawa Jackson credited hours of practice involving similar rescues for the safe extraction

By Kristopher Hanson
The Press-Telegram

LONG BEACH, Calif. — A man and woman suffered moderate injuries after a port cargo crane jolted to a sudden stop 200 feet in the air, stranding them until firefighters arrived minutes later.

The pair, inside the cabin of what's known as a gantry crane, a massive machine used to load and unload shipping containers, were working on Pier J on Sunday evening when firefighters received a distress call, said Long Beach Fire Capt. Jackawa Jackson.

"We're not sure exactly how they were injured at this point, but witnesses said the crane came to a sudden stop about 200 feet in the air," Jackson said.

Jackson said the rescue was a "dizzying affair" that involved firefighters hoisting themselves with cables to the cabin, then placing the man and woman in a steel basket before lowering them to safety.

Jackson credited hours of practice involving similar rescues for the safe extraction.

"Firefighters practice tirelessly for this type of scenario and have trained numerous times on the very cranes that were involved in the incident," Jackson said.

The cause is under investigation.

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