Winnipeg police, fire paramedic service, civilians come together to save man hanging from bridge
A file image of the Winnipeg Police Service taken on Dec. 24, 2019. (Source: CTV News Winnipeg)
WINNIPEG -- In a joint rescue, Winnipeg police, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service and a local business worked together on Tuesday to help save a man hanging off the Disraeli Bridge.
On Tuesday afternoon, Winnipeg police received several calls saying a man climbed over the ledge of the bridge, located on Higgins Avenue.
According to police, Patrol Sgt. Saif Khan went to the area, drove his car below the bridge and saw a man in crisis. Police said the man was hanging on the railing rungs and that he was suspended about 35 feet from the ground.
Police said Khan quickly organized a rescue effort, with two officers at the top of the bridge holding the man’s jacket until more help arrived.
The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service then came to help at the top of the bridge, while other units blocked off traffic on the road below the bridge.
Police added Khan then spotted a truck from the company SRS Signs and Service, which had a boom and a bucket. He asked the driver of the truck for help.
The driver quickly got his truck underneath the man and moved the boom and bucket up to his feet, gently lifting him until police, firefighters, and paramedics were able to pull the man over the ledge to safety.
One of the employees with SRS Signs and Services said they were happy they could help.
"I mean everybody needs help at some point, so we were just happy we could be there at the right time," they said.
They said it took just under 10 minutes to get the bucket up to the man.
Police said the man was taken to hospital for medical assessment. No one was hurt in the incident.
Const. Dani McKinnon of the Winnipeg Police Service said when people are in crisis, the situation can be very fluid.
"You don't want to amplify the situation, but, of course, this was a very public situation. Crowds had gathered. So you know you want to be very respectful about the situation that is going on and react quickly, but at the same time you're being mindful of your backdrop of people around you," she said.
POLICE APOLOGIZE FOR SOCIAL MEDIA POST
Police also issued an apology regarding the incident on Thursday after they posted pictures of it on social media.
McKinnon said they received criticism for the post.
"The criticism was legitimate," she said. "We did not foresee that this post would trigger such a negative response. The message we were showing was that there was such a great collaborative effort, that this situation de-escalated, somebody was brought to safety really quickly."
She said there is a very sensitive aspect to this situation and the police never intended to overlook that.