Rescued Man Thanks Firefighters - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/23/04

Rescued Man Thanks Firefighters

Bill May Bill May

Savannah firefighters made a difficult and dangerous rescue last night. It all started about 10:30pm when worker Bill May slipped while doing maintenance work at the Engelhard Corporation on President Street. We spoke with fire department officials who say one of the reasons a rescue like this is so hard to perform is because they have to use pulleys and ropes and the rescue workers have undergo hours and hours of tedious training.

"All I can say is you guys did a good job getting me out of there," May told firefighters over the phone.

May is recovering after it took a dozen fire fighters to rescue him. After doing some routine maintenance work on the top section of the building, May slipped going down a flight of stairs and ended up on a narrow catwalk, unable to walk and completely helpless. "I was laying there thinking, 'How are they ever going to do this?' because that's about eight flights of stairs up there," he recalled.

After using pulleys and ropes, rescue teams where were able to lift May and bring him down safely. It's a rescue technique that's rarely performed. "You have to know a lot of what they call ropes and knots, which involved the pulley mechanics and tying yourself off, much like mountain climbing, repelling, things of that nature," said Chief Tony Faust of Savannah FD. "The military does it, sport enthusiast do it."

Even though rescues like this take emergency crews more than a hundred hours to master, the one man it saved couldn't be more thankful. "Their training paid off because they did a good job," May said.

Bill May will be undergoing surgery to repair his fractured leg, but says he just wants to hurry up and get better and go back to work.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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