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Construction worker falls down shaft, crews tunnel through walls to rescue him

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Photo by Mark Carlson, The Gazette-KCRG TV9

Photo by Mark Carlson, The Gazette-KCRG TV9

Photo by Mark Carlson, The Gazette-KCRG TV9

After a construction worker fell down a shaft while working at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, emergency crews had formulate a plan to reach him.

KCRG reported that firefighters had to tunnel through the walls to get to the worker Friday morning, May 23, 2014.

According to the report, Iowa City Fire Battalion Chief Brian Platz said emergency crews were called after the man, who was working on the roof of the hospital, fell down a 20 to 25 feet deep shaft that was 15 x 30 feet.

“He was laying at the bottom of the shaft,” Platz said, according to KCRG. “There were no good access points except from above.”

Emergency responders were able to use a ladder to get down to care for the injured worker, reported KCRG. As he was receiving care, firefighters were busy planning a way to get him out. They decided to tunnel through the walls.

Platz said it took “a lot of specialized equipment.”

“It was certainly a technical rescue,” Platz said, calling such rescues “very high risk, but very low frequency.”

KCRG said that there was a lot of construction work going on at the hospital, so crews were lending firefighters their power tools, batteries, and other equipment needed to cut through the walls.

The injured man was alert when crews reached him. His injuries are unknown at this time.