One slip could have sent the Dania Beach woman falling about 22 feet onto the railroad tracks below. Or worse, she could have fallen farther, down into the river.
But Fort Lauderdale firefighters saved the day Saturday. They got there in time and used a 24-foot ladder to reach the 55-year-old woman. The crowd, who used their cellphones to take photos and videos, cheered as she was brought to safety — unharmed. "She was just stuck in this Jesus Christ position," said Phillip Glazebrook, a Fort Lauderdale man who works in a booth nearby. "The woman was frozen and terrified.
"I'm sure she must have been in absolute shock to be stuck in that position." The woman, who wore a pink shirt, was in Fort Lauderdale with good intentions, officials said. She told firefighters she had just walked in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk, which started about two hours earlier in nearby Huizenga Plaza, they said. Glazebrook said he thinks the woman perhaps was crossing the railroad bridge to take a photo. But as she walked across, the bridge went up. People aren't even supposed to be on it: There are signs warning pedestrians to keep out. "Once it goes up, the gap automatically happens, so she was stuck up there," Glazebrook said. "All these people ... pointing at this woman stuck on the bridge."
Authorities said several 911 calls came in about 10:44 a.m. Firefighters quickly arrived and saved her. That drawbridge, which crosses the New River between Las Olas Riverfront and a historic district, has been the scene of past tragedies. In December 2010, two Lynn University soccer players — teammates Kyle Conrad, and Joe Cundall, both 21 at the time — crossed over the railroad bridge on their way to a party. The bridge opened, causing Conrad to fall to the water. Rescuers found him about 10 minutes after the fall. He was pronounced dead at Broward Health Medical Center.
Cundall was found clinging to the bridge's trestle.
This was a day in the 'Pink Lady's' life she won't soon forget