A specialized high-rescue team of Montreal firefighters saved three workers who were trapped under the new Samuel de Champlain Bridge early Wednesday.
It took a couple of hours for the crew to rappel down to the workers and haul them up to safety one by one. Nobody was injured in the incident.
The workers were trapped under the southbound section of the bridge, closer to Montreal’s South Shore, according to Louise Desrosiers, a spokesperson for the fire department.
It’s believed the workers got stuck because of an equipment failure, she said.
Firefighters parked their vehicles in the bridge’s reserved bus lane, set up their ropes and other equipment, and lowered themselves to the three stranded men, she explained.
A rescue boat patrolled the waters below, but was not needed as the rescue was conducted all from the bridge’s platform. A total of 11 vehicles and about 25 firefighters responded to the call.
The operation ended around 5:20 a.m. and the bus lane was opened to traffic soon after, she said.
The specialized team trains regularly to rescue people from high, hard-to-reach places. That regular training is essential to perform such technical rescues, said Desrosiers.
“They do train and they do practise a lot,” she said, but they are always conducting their rescue operations with safety in mind.
“Of course, there’s always a risk in all the work that they’re doing,” Desrosiers added, describing this incident as unique because it was on the new bridge.