Mischief charges for woman rescued from crane
Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017 6:30AM EDT Last Updated Thursday, April 27, 2017 6:44PM EDT
A 22-year-old woman is facing six charges of public mischief after she spent hours in the dark, perched on a towering crane high above downtown Toronto, before she was rescued by a firefighter in a daring operation on Wednesday morning.
Police identified the woman as Marisa Lazo of Toronto.
Lazo became stuck on a construction crane’s hook block, dangling approximately 25 storeys above the ground. The incident left even seasoned high-angle rescuers puzzled by how she wound up there.
Hours after being spotted by area residents in the darkness, the woman was lowered to the ground after being harnessed to a rappelling firefighter at approximately 8:30 a.m.
Bystanders broke out into applause as the pair safely touched the ground.
The woman, dressed in a jean jacket and dark pants, was able to stand on her own and speak with authorities moments after being lowered to the ground.
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg told reporters at the scene that she did not appear to be in any distress. She was placed in handcuffs by police officers before being put on a stretcher and placed in an ambulance.
The woman, who is believed to be in her mid-20s, was taken to hospital in stable condition. Toronto police confirmed to CTV News that she has been arrested and is facing a charge of mischief.
Her identity was not immediately known.
Pegg identified Acting Cpt. Rob Wonfor as the rescuer who assisted the woman safely down to the ground.
Pegg praised Wonfor and the ground crew for a “very technical, very complex rescue.”
“We train for this … although we’ve never quite seen one like this before,” Pegg said.
A total of 27 Toronto Fire Service members were deployed to the scene.
The woman was stuck on the crane at a construction site in the downtown core, for at least four hours.
Toronto Fire Services say it appears the woman ventured onto the site overnight and climbed onto the crane before lowering herself onto a block on the crane’s hook.
She was spotted at 3:30 a.m. Live television footage of the woman showed her calmly sitting atop the hook block, which measures approximately 15 centimetres by 60 centimetres.
After being cleared by paramedics, Wonfor described the rescue to reporters, saying he and the woman didn’t speak much as he focused on getting her down safely. Wonfor said she told him that she was “glad to see you up here to help me.”
He described her as “very calm” throughout the process. “She made me calm, actually.”
Wonfor called her a “brave girl” who even helped him out.
A 22-year veteran of the fire service, Wonfor said that he was “very tired” and cold after being suspended on the crane for more than two hours. “It’s a lot of work trying to get up there.”
Wonfor said he has “no idea” how the woman got onto the crane block. He called her climbing abilities “impressive.”
Firefighters believe she climbed up the crane and then slid down to the block she was sitting on. Once Wonfor reached her, the woman was put in a safety harness and the pair rappelled down together.
The rescue was unusual, Wonfor said, because people who climb cranes generally stay on or inside the crane itself.
“How did she do that? That’s what everybody wants to know.”
Lazo has been charged with six counts of public mischief interfering with property. She is scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall on Thursday morning.
In an interview with CTV Toronto Wednesday afternoon, Toronto Fire Chief Pegg said that, while Toronto firefighters are highly trained for such a technical and complex rescue, the “conditions presented today” were unique.
“Like everyone else, I felt a lot better when I saw two sets of feet hit the ground safely, but I have complete confidence in our crew’s ability to deploy,” Pegg said.