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Video: Iowa firefighters rappel from bridge to rescue woman in river

Waterloo Battalion Chief Troy Luck said the department has practiced rappelling, but this was the first time they did it during a rescue


Image/The Courier

Jeff Reinitz
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

WATERLOO, Iowa — Waterloo firefighters rappelled off a downtown bridge to save a woman in the icy Cedar River Monday night.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the woman ended up in the river, but passersby called 911 around 7:35 p.m. after hearing her yelling under the Park Avenue Bridge.

The woman was conscious and talking when crews with Waterloo Fire Rescue and Waterloo Police arrived. Firefighters tossed her a rope with a loop on it, which kept her in place and prevented her from floating over the dam only few yards away.

Firefighter Chris Roth used a second line to rappel into the river while another crew launched a boat from the Exchange Park ramp upstream.

When the craft arrived, Roth helped her into the boat, which ferried her to an ambulance waiting near the amphitheater.

Battalion Chief Troy Luck said the fire department has practiced rappelling from the bridge numerous times during training, but this was the first time they have used it in an actual rescue.


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