ROCKPORT (CBS) – A 26-year-old structural engineer who fell inside a Rockport bell tower says she’s fortunate she wasn’t more seriously hurt and made it down to safety.
Sara Alinia was in good hands as Rockport firefighters slowly took her 75 feet down a ladder at the First Congregational Church. She fell six feet off a platform as she took pictures of the tower reconstruction project, just missing the opening of a hatch.
“Even if falling a little to the left I would have fallen through the hatch three stories about 40 feet,” she said. “The outcome would not have been good.”
Still, the engineer marveled at the rescue effort undertaken by firefighters. “The experience was amazing, what they came up with was pretty cool,” she said.
Assistant fire chief Kirk Keating manned the rescue, strapping Alinia into a stokes basket, and four firefighters each grabbed a side moving down one rung at a time. “It’s quite hairy,” said Keating. “We used a lot of safety lines, we can’t take any chances of injuring somebody else.”
WBZ-TV’s Katie Brace reports
The height was so great the fire department’s ladder was 15 feet short and the Coast Guard was put on standby for a possible airlift. It took backing up the truck for greater extension and Alinia says she was calm but in pain. “Every once in awhile I kept thinking are we down yet, are we down yet,” she said.
It wasn’t until she saw the television footage of the rescue that she realized what an undertaking it was. She had only bruised her back in the fall and says through the pain she tried to make jokes with firefighters to lighten the mood.
“Tomorrow is promised to no one so you have to cherish every moment because you never know what can happen,” she said.