Firefighters speak on the dramatic Houston Ship Channel rescue

- A daring, high-angle rescue attempt ended with all lives intact.

Texas Department of Transportation officials say the construction worker was performing maintenance work on the bridge when he lost his footing and slipped. But he had remembered to put on his harness and safety gear.

“He had lost his footing and once he was hanging on by a thin wire, that was just keeping him dangling there,” said Christopher Clay, a firefighter from Houston Fire Station 42, the crew that responded to the rescue.

Clay was one of the firefighters who crawled on the catwalks underneath the bridge to rescue the worker.

“I wasn't even thinking about fear. I was more thinking about how are we going to get this guy down, how are we going to set up something to relieve his pain,” said Clay.

The firefighter crew that carried out the rescue is a highly-trained special team.

They stopped traffic and had to develop a new plan quickly when they realized their ladder wouldn't work.

“When I saw him dangling from the bridge, my immediate thought was that he was out of the reach of the ladder truck, so we started developing a plan so we could recover him from the bridge,” said Captain Mario Gordon of Fire Station 42.

They used special high-angle equipment, like this tripod, which can lift up to one-thousand pounds and were able to rescue the worker deftly.

“A rescue like this, it's time to go to work and it's time to put our training into play and that's exactly what my team did today,” said Gordon. “They were really successful, and the outcome was magnificent.”

The man was conscious and talking when he was rescued. He was taken to a hospital right away for further checkup.

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