Eight people trapped in an elevator at the Calgary Tower were rescued by Calgary fire crews Friday night.
It was a four-hour dilemma, running from 9:30 p.m. until Saturday at 1:30 a.m.
People on board recall falling at least three times in the four hours.
When fire crews arrived on scene, the Technical Rescue Team was called in to perform what’s called a high-angle rescue, the fire department said.
LISTEN: Abbigail Webber discusses the harrowing ordeal of being stuck in a falling Calgary Tower elevator car
“We have a technical rescue team that is very well trained in high-angle rescues,” Calgary Fire Department public information officer Carol Henke said. “They were called to the scene to ensure the elevator was secure and then remove the eight people.”
According to CFD, the stuck elevator was secured, and the people trapped inside were harnessed and pulled through the scuttle hatch — a process that didn’t too well with those in the elevator.
“They told us that they were going to rappel us to this other elevator right beside it which had the exact same problem happen three weeks ago,” Kasey Fortner said. “So we didn’t really feel much safer, and that elevator didn’t even have a door.”
The group was then lowered through the hatch of a second elevator parallel to the secured elevator before being taken to ground level.
There were no injuries in the incident.
“Safety is just so important, especially when you’re dealing with high-angle rescues,” Henke said. “It takes time to set all that up, make sure the immediate area is safe as it possibly can be so that those people can safely be transferred to the other elevator.”
According to Protocol Rescue, a company that delivers safety services to oil and gas companies in Western Canada, a high-angle rescue is considered to be on terrain that has a slope of 60 degrees and higher, with rescuers being fully dependent upon ropes to access the rescue.
The Calgary Tower provided an official statement on the situation, saying: “The safety of everyone enjoying the Calgary Tower is our highest priority. We are extremely grateful to everyone who responded to this incident at site and wish to thank them all for their support.
“We are taking this matter very seriously. A full investigation of the incident is currently underway and will be ongoing. The Calgary Tower remains committed to safety excellence and is dedicated to ensuring that this landmark can be enjoyed safely by the public.”
Other patrons in the restaurant at the Calgary Tower had to take the stairs down while the rescue took place.
Calgary fire said the scene was handed over to building maintenance and elevator technicians.
– With files from Josh Ritchie