Cologne A woman suffered a medical emergency in the south tower of Cologne Cathedral on Saturday evening. Rescue workers were unable to bring the woman down the narrow staircase and had to get her out using other means.
It was an amazing rescue at Cologne Cathedral: On Saturday evening, the fire department rappelled a woman from a height of 45 meters down the northern facade of the cathedral. The woman suffered a medical emergency and had to be evacuated.
According to the fire department, reports from visitors indicated that the emergency occurred in the area of the belfry in the south tower. An ambulance, emergency doctor and vehicle were all dispatched to the cathedral. Since the construction elevator on the northern facade was out of order due to maintenance, the emergency response leader called for a rescue vehicle and special high-altitude rescue unit for support.
The emergency services immediately ascended to the belfry via the south tower. In an entrance hall at a height of 53 meters, the emergency services reached an approximately 30-year-old woman who was suffering an acute medical emergency.
The woman was given medical care and stabilized so she could be brought down from the cathedral. But she couldn’t be taken down the stairwell because it was too narrow, so the rescuers decided to lower the woman down the outside facade with a special device.
High-altitude rescuer accompanies patient
The patient was first taken a few meters through the narrow staircase to the 45 meter level, according to the fire department. There, she was placed in a basket stretcher, secured and further medical treatment was administered. "After all the safety devices and ropes had been attached and checked, the actual abseiling process in the basket stretcher began," according to the fire department.
A high-altitude rescuer accompanied the patient during the entire rescue. After the woman arrived at the bottom, rescue workers treated her in an ambulance and brought her to a hospital.
After a little less than an hour, the firefighters' mission was over. The fire department said that it regularly trained for such rescues and only recently had conducted various exercises at Cologne Cathedral. In one of those, a patient was also abseiled to the ground level.
(Orig. text: Alexander Hertel / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)