Bell-ringer rescued by firefighters after getting stuck in church tower

St Andrews Church, Soham

St Andrews Church, Soham - Credit: Archant

FIREFIGHTERS had to rescue a bell-ringer from the top of a church bell tower in Soham on Wednesday night.

Rescue crews and firefighters from Cambridge were called shortly before 10pm to St Andrew’s Church following reports that a 36-year-old woman had broken her ankle and was stuck 65ft above ground in the church tower.

Jon Smith, crew commander at Cambridge red watch, said: “The casualty was in the bell tower in the ringing chamber, below the bell chamber, and approximately 65ft above ground level. The access is via a steep spiral stone staircase with no handrail that the female casualty, who by now had a splinted leg, was unable to negotiate.

“Crews removed one of the trap doors in the floor of the ringing chamber that the bells are hauled up through and set up a tripod with a winch and associated safety lines. “The casualty was then securely harnessed, attached to a firefighter, and lowered through the trap door 65 feet to the base of the tower where she was handed over to ambulance crews.

“This was a relatively straight forward incident but the specialist equipment and skills of the firefighters meant the woman was rescued within 45 minutes of our arrival on scene.”

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The woman was taken to hospital by ambulance and firefighters left the scene shorty after midnight.

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