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Winnipeg child in hospital after falling through St. James air vent

A child fell down this air vent in Winnipeg Monday.
A child fell down this air vent in Winnipeg Monday. Josh Arason/Global News

A child is in hospital after falling through an air vent on a Winnipeg sidewalk on Monday evening.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) said the incident occurred around 8 p.m. in the 200 block of Ronald Street in the St. James area, when a metal grate — the type that typically covers an opening in a sidewalk — gave way.

Read more: WFPS responds to 4 water rescue calls and 3 fires in 12 hours

WFPS assistant chief Ihor Holowczynsky said while officials can’t disclose details on the child’s age or the severity of the injuries, a quick response by rescue crews has them hopeful for a good outcome.

Holowczynsky said first responders were on the scene quickly — within five minutes of getting the call — and were able to rescue the child and remove them from the shaft within 20 minutes.

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The air vent has been blocked off for now.
The air vent has been blocked off for now. Josh Arason/Global News

The crews used a tripod-based rope rescue, he said, which involved lowering a rescuer to assess the child’s injuries, “package” them appropriately so they would be safe during the removal from the shaft, and then winched them out to the surface.

This isn’t an everyday event. It’s quite a rare event in my experience,” Holowczynsky said.

“Sure, it’s great to avoid (grates) where possible, but sometimes it’s not possible, and you just have to exercise due caution at all times.”

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