Emergency crews use ropes and ladder truck to retrieve man who fell off bridge

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Emergency responders spent nearly an hour rescuing a man who fell off the Yadkin River bridge early Tuesday.

The driver, whose name was not available Tuesday, pulled over on the bridge sometime around midnight. He felt sick and intended to step over the railing onto the ground.

But the ground wasn’t there, and the man ended up falling about 65 feet into a swampy area below, authorities said.

The Millers Ferry Fire Department was dispatched and rescuers used ropes to lift the man up.

Several agencies assisted in the rescue including Rowan EMS and Rowan County Rescue Squad, whose vehicles were used as anchor points. Churchland Fire Department and the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office responded and the N.C. Highway Patrol blocked off traffic during the rescue.

Millers Ferry Fire Chief Bobby Fox said his department is trained to perform these types of rescues, but he said this one was uncommon. The ideal recovery method would have been to retrieve the motorist by boat, but Fox said responders could not get access to the man by water.

The rescuers used the Millers Ferry ladder truck, with a ladder that extends 100 feet, and attached a basket to it. The basket, which also held a firefighter and rescue squad member, was lowered over the side of the bridge, Fox said.

The man had minor injuries. He was conscious and talking to rescuers.