Rope Rescue in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

It’s still unknown whether a woman’s condition has improved after firefighters rescued her from an Etobicoke Creek ravine embankment late Sunday morning.

A dozen firefighters in three trucks responded to the rescue call at 11:18 a.m. March 15 to rescue the woman.

“Firefighters packaged a woman in her 90s in a stretcher with straps like seat belts to keep her stable. She was in life-threatening condition,” Toronto fire Capt. Mike Strapko said.

Firefighters performed a so-called low-angle rescue using a patient lift basket behind an apartment building at 14 Neilson Dr.

“They tied a rope to a tree up the embankment and used it as an anchor for the rope system. Then firefighters carried her in the stretcher up the embankment.”

Toronto paramedics then transported the woman to a trauma centre, Toronto EMS Supt. Kim McKinnon reported.

The woman’s current medical condition is not known.

Firefighters cleared the scene 90 minutes later.

Low- and high-angle rescues are not uncommon for Toronto firefighters, Strapko said.

Firefighters perform high-angle rescues on steep cliffs and “on the side of a highrise building to rescue a window washer stranded on the 30th floor or on the Scarborough Bluffs,” Strapko said.

Low-angle rescues occur alongside the city’s creeks and rivers, including the Humber and the Rouge rivers, he added.

“Most of the high-angle, low-angle rescues we do are on the Scarborough Bluffs,” Strapko said. “We also do them along the Humber River and on golf courses. But I don’t ever remember any on Neilson Drive.”

How the woman came to need rescued is not known, he said.

A walking trail runs along the Etobicoke Creek in that area.

“We don’t know if ice was a factor and she slipped and fell.”

Strapko urged residents, especially children, to stay away from city waterways. Warmer temperatures in recent days thawed snow and increased runoff, as well as the flow of rivers and creeks.

“Along waterways, we always say stay back 10 metres or 30 feet,” he said. “Most of the trails are closer (to the water) than that.”

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