Specialized equipment used to rescue man stuck underneath Blanchette Bridge

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ST. CHARLES, Mo. – An unusual and dramatic late-night rescue after a man got trapped under the Blanchette Bridge. He was apparently trying to cross the river on a catwalk when he got stuck.

“What started as this gentleman trying to cross the bridge on foot as a pedestrian very quickly turned into a different scenario,” said St. Charles Fire Captain Kelly Hunsel.

The St. Charles Fire Department has one of five trucks in the St. Louis area with specialized rescue equipment and was able to help save the man's life.

“From the ground, they were able to see that this victim was on the superstructure of the deck,” Hunsel said. “He was on a maintenance catwalk that runs underneath the runway. He’d gotten down there by mistake and ended up in a situation where he was not able to get back out.”

The fire department and St. Louis Metro Urban Search and Rescue Team One used specialized equipment for high-angle, confined space rescues.

First responders used a harness to connect the man to the bridge so he wouldn’t fall and then a boom truck with a platform parked beneath the catwalk to reach up and retrieve him.

“What could have made this more challenging he could have been over the water. That would have been a much different situation,” Hunsel said.

The rescue team is comprised of firefighters from across the St. Louis area, including Pattonville, the St. Charles County Ambulance District, Robertson, and Central County. The lift truck was provided by United Rentals.

“This bridge is not design for people to travel on,” Hunsel said. “It's here for maintenance; we are talking about great heights. It could have been a bad situation.”

Authorities said the man had his cellphone with him and he was able to call for help. He was uninjured.

The St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case for possible charges.

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