On May 6, 2019, a tower technician employed by Infinity Construction Solutions, Inc. called 911 to rescue his unnamed coworker off a monopole in Georgia. A Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services spokesperson informed Wireless Estimator that it took two hours to perform the “methodical” rescue. He was then transported to a hospital. They did not provide the extent of his injuries. Due to the lengthy rescue time, if it was a serious heart attack, it’s likely he would have died.
Three weeks earlier on April 19, 2019, a tower tech was rescued by San Antonio, Tex. firefighters after he broke his arm while working at about the 130-foot level on a monopole. It took the city’s rescue personnel about three hours to bring the worker to the ground. Due to the lengthy rescue time, if it was a serious heart attack, it’s likely he would have died.
Three years earlier on April 5, 2016, an NB+C employee contacted 911, informing them that a fellow tower climber needed to be rescued from an approximate height of 120 feet on a Crown Castle 229-foot self-supporting tower in California, Md. However, foreman Gary Salisbury wasn’t going to rely upon firefighters responding, creating a rigging plan and possibly taking two or more hours to rescue John Gosnell, 44, knowing that if it was a serious heart attack, it’s likely his co-worker would die.
And what neither Salisbury nor Gosnell knew was that the 44-year-old climber was having a widow maker heart attack due to 100 percent blockage of his left anterior descending artery.
As rescue workers arrived, Salisbury was already climbing the tower to rig it and bring down Gosnell. The entire rescue took approximately 15 minutes and the married father of eight children was airlifted to the hospital where a stent was inserted.
As he was being monitored in ICU he had another widow maker heart attack. Then Gosnell flatlined. He was resuscitated and another stent was inserted and he recovered, Gosnell informed Wireless Estimator in an interview this week.
Salisbury never viewed the rescue as heroic, although any time a firefighter rescues a climber the local media attributes their actions as being dangerous and heroic.
Salisbury did what he was trained to do – climber rescue.
Unfortunately, it’s apparent that some tower crews have climbers that may be rescue trained, but aren’t comfortable with performing one.