A man feeling faint while working atop a 120-foot radio tower south of Orcutt on Wednesday afternoon was safely returned to the ground with the help of firefighters more than two hours later.
Shortly after 1:30 p.m., Santa Barbara County firefighters, aided by a county helicopter as well as personnel from the city of Santa Maria, were dispatched to Los Flores Ranch Park, near the top of the Solomon Grade.
The man, whose name was not released, dangled from an arm extending from the main tower as two county firefighter paramedics and a city firefighter climbed up to provide aid.
The worker, one of several at the site, reportedly got stuck in the harness and then became tired while trying to get free, county Battalion Chief Scot Alderete said.
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The trio of rescuers helped the worker don a firefighter harness system before attempting to move him toward the ground.
“It’s a fairly complex (rescue),” Alderete said. “We’re dealing with 120 feet up, the person’s hanging out off of the main tower so we have to get out to that individual’s location, get them onto our (harness) system, and we can lower them at that point.”
Rescuers also had to deal with windy conditions while working atop the tower.
“It’s already uncomfortable being that high up,” Alderete said. “When you’re dealing with strong winds it makes it a little more uncomfortable.”
Upon arrival, crews immediately shut off electrical power to the tower as a safety precaution, Alderete added.
As they made the trip back to the ground, the man could be heard saying he was ready to get down.
By 4:15 p.m., the man was standing on the ground again after slowly climbing down the tower. The man was evaluated at the scene but was not taken to the hospital, authorities said.
There were conflicting reports on whether the man worked for the city or a contractor.
The tower, on property owned by the city of Santa Maria, is part of the city’s new 700 megahertz police radio system, which sits on the northern portion of Los Flores Ranch. The ranch is to a city-owned park and future site for a new city landfill.