Rescuers recount saving man 150-feet high on cell tower

by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Read the update: Owner explains how worker got stuck 150 feet up working on tower


Emergency crews rescued a worker who was injured and dangling 150 feet off the ground from a cellphone tower at the 3800 block of Shamrock Drive.

Charlotte Fire Department Public Information Officer Mark Basnight said Charlotte Fire Department was called to the scene. The technical rescue team responded to implement a rescue.

IMAGES: Rescue of worker on cellphone tower

Basnight said this type of rescue is a tedious process. Eyewitness News spoke with the two firefighters who climbed the tower, firefighter Kevin Wallin and Capt. Joel Cherry.

“Me and Capt. Cherry got our game plan together,” Wallin said. “We talked about it. 'This is what we’re going to do.'”

Wallin started climbing first, followed by Cherry. They worked their way up to the worker who was suspended from his harness.

Chopper 9 captured them pulling the worker upright so he could get blood flow back in his legs after dangling for around 40 minutes.

“We talked to him to try to get his mind off the pain,” Wallin said.

“He told me he had two kids, one kid (at home) and one on the way, and he wanted to get home to them,” Cherry said.

The worker was raised up to the top of the tower, where he and the two rescuers took a short breather.

The worker then climbed down most of the tower before being lowered the rest of the way to the ground into the arms of waiting firefighters.

The worker's name and the extent of his injuries have not been released, but he gave our cameras a thumbs up when asked about his condition.

The incident is under investigation.

"(The) safety of everyone who works on our network is a top priority," said a Sprint spokesperson. "Of course, we will cooperate fully with the investigation of this matter."

Channel 9 showed the entire rescue live on air from the ground and from Chopper 9.

Watch the dramatic rescue from Chopper 9 here.