HFD completes high-angle rescue of crane operator in Galleria area

Man slips, falls about 10 feet, landing on platform underneath crane control box

By Phillip Mena , John Brannen - Web Editor

HOUSTON - The Houston Fire Department conducted a high-angle rescue in the Galleria area.

It happened shortly after 4 p.m. Friday at a construction site at 1409 Post Oak Boulevard and Garrettson Lane.

Authorities said a crane operator was injured and was stuck about 200 feet in the air. There were at least four firefighters on the crane assisting with the rescue.

"This is a technical rescue. This is kind of our bread and butter, what we do for the fire department, these out-of-the-ordinary type rescues," said Michael Whitmire, of HFD Rescue.

Fire officials said the operators were changing shifts Friday afternoon, passing each other on the ladder.

"The guy who was going off-shift slipped and fell about 10 feet, landing on one of the platforms underneath the crane control box," said HFD District Chief Bob Schlieter.

Fire officials said the operator who wasn't injured helped by using the crane to lift the Stokes basket into place while rescuers climbed to the top.

"If we didn't have that, we basically would have had to carry him down those ladders and that would've made it very difficult, very time consuming, very manpower intensive," said Schlieter.

Instead, the rescuers were able to quickly secure the injured man and use the crane to lower him to the ground. A 10-year HFD veteran on the first high-angle rescue of his career made the slow descent with the injured worker.

Once on the ground, the crane operator was loaded into the ambulance.

"He was unconscious for a few seconds but regained consciousness, complaining of neck and back pain," Schlieter said.

The injured man was taken to Ben Taub Hospital for treatment.

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