Worker Has Heart Attack Atop Water Tower, Rescue Ensues

Water department worker Troy Brooks suffered a heart attack yesterday atop a tower in Pender County, N.C., causing a fall that left him dangling from his safety rope 150 feet above ground.

He was working on the tower with his brother, who immediately shouted to coworkers below to call 911.

"I knew this would be beyond our scope of capabilities," Pender EMS Assistant Chief Steve Conway told a reporter from local station WECT-TV.

The nearby Hampstead, Ogden and Castle Hayne Fire Departments, along with the New Hanover County Tactical Squad, came to perform what's known as a high angle rescue.

Fortunately for Brooks, rescuers in the New Hanover County Fire Department go through annual training with the Wilmington Fire Department on area water towers and at the state port.

"The adrenaline gets pumping, you know you've got somebody up there that you've got to help. You get up there and do the job, then you think about it afterward," New Hanover Fire Search and Rescue Lt. Ryan E. Merrill told WECT. "It really paid off, because it showed that we practiced and knew what to do."

Eventually, Brooks was airlifted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center where he was treated. He was released from the center today.


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