BOSTON (CBS/AP) – A veteran MBTA worker was saved by Boston firefighters in a dramatic early morning rescue after he fell 30 feet inside a shaft.

WBZ-TV’s Jonathan Elias reports

46-year-old Edward Rowe of Haverhill, an employee of the agency’s power department, was listed in fair condition Wednesday night at Massachusetts General Hospital.

PHOTO GALLERY: Watch WBZ-TV’s Peg Rusconi and crew prepare for their live report

Rowe was working on an elevated trolley track near the Charles Street/Massachusetts General Hospital station at about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday when he fell through a plywood cover between the tracks and down a hollowed out concrete support column.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

The fire department was called in and it took some of their smallest firefighters to save him.  The entrance to the shaft is just three-feet by three-feet.

Rowe was pulled out just before 7 a.m., two-and-a-half hours after he fell.

stretcher1 MBTA Worker In Fair Condition After 30 Foot Fall In Shaft

Firefighters brought the man out on a stretcher around 7 a.m. (Photo courtesy: Boston Fire Dept.)

“The guy was in some pain down there, he wanted out of there,”  rescuer Gary Dardia told reporters.

“We just tried our best to get him out in a timely fashion without causing him any more pain.”

Rowe has been with the MBTA for 28 years.

MBTA General Manager Richard Davey has ordered all plywood covers be replaced with metal to prevent another accident.

Because of the accident, the T was busing between the Kendall Square and the Broadway stops on the Red Line until 8:30 a.m.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (15)
  1. Thomas Hood says:

    “The entrance to the shaft is just three-feet by three-feet in diameter.”

    No it’s not. It’s either 3’x3′ or 3′ in diameter depending on whether it’s round or square. It connot be both.

    I know. I’m a picky SOB and really need to get a life. But still, a little literacy goes a long way especially if you are writing for commercial media…

    1. RsubG says:

      haha I think they fixed it!

  2. emom says:

    I am curious as to why a plank of ply-wood was covering the shaft hole. Talk about unsafe. a hatch should be over it . I bet they will revamp that one now,, I wonder how many other shafts have the same setup… Foolish idea

  3. Skinny Jim says:

    “it took some of their smallest firefighters to save him. The entrance to the shaft is just three-feet by three-feet.”

    Are there acutally fire fighters who can’t fit down a 3 ft hole?

    1. bigm says:

      @Jim It’s not just fitting down the hole, it’s bending over to help somebody lying on at the bottom, without standing on him, and then being able to get him past you on the way back. Looks a bit smaller than 3ft too:

  4. WesWelkerFan says:

    Glad to hear the guy is OK and wasn’t more seriously hurt. But the MBTA again did a lousy job in alerting us that there was no Red Line service. No announcment at North Station, I didn’t hear about the shut down until I was on the Orange Line heading for Downtown Crossing. Too late for me to turn around and take the #4 bus to the Waterfront. Geez, just when you think you’ve experianced it all on the MBTA, they come up with something to top themselves!

  5. JanetD says:

    I was on the Red Line this morning and thought that the T did a great job of keeping us informed of what was going on! It was also all over the news early so it would have been hard to miss. I think people complain too much.

    1. Ron says:

      Either you work for the T, or you weren’t actually out there in this. Try being at Park St at 5:30 this morning when it was shut down all the way to Harvard and not just Kendall w/ not EVEN ONE T employee who had any idea what was going on, no shuttle buses running except to Harvard, and no planning or coordination to get people onto buses. Passengers were briefly told to stand in one spot for service to Harvard and another to get to Broadway. Then when buses did show up they pulled up anywhere they felt like w/o any indication of which ones they were. The T only did a good job at leaving people waiting over an hour for a shuttle bus.

      Nah, let’s just follow your lead and not complain when people fail to do the only thing they’re paid to do. We’ll all just bend over, grab our ankles, and sing a rousing chorus of:”Thank You For Raping Us, Oh Almighty MBTA”. Let me guess, you also repeat the mantra that the T didn’t have any problems until the winter right?

  6. BILLY says:


  7. John OLeary says:

    How many Fire Fighters does it take to pull one man out of a hole? Must have been 50 or more, and we wonder why our taxes are so high!

  8. Dan R says:

    There were less than 25 Firefighters there. The initial two companies (8 firefighters) and the tech rescue companies (12 Firefighters). It is a complicated process that involves many working pieces. Not to mention, all of the firefighters present at the rescue were also present at a 2 alarm fire in East Boston earlier that night.

  9. taxedout says:

    Does this outfit do Any fixing of it’s equipment, or it’s locations, or does all the money go to saleries???? Another Law Suit, and guess who’s going to pay???

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