Confined Space Rescue in Charlotte, NC



Emergency crews had to rescue a man overnight from an uptown Charlotte hotel’s air conditioning shaft after they said he fell four stories.

PHOTOS: Man rescued from uptown hotel air shaft

Fire officials told Channel 9 that the 24-year-old man climbed onto a vent at the Hilton on East Third Street around 3 a.m. when the plastic grate gave way. The man told rescuers that he fell feet-first and was able to stop himself briefly before falling further.

“On the third floor there’s a part of the vent system — he climbed over the railing and stepped over that. It wasn’t designed to hold him, it’s just plastic, and he fell down about four floors — about 40 feet,” said CMPD Capt. Brian Foley.

RAW VIDEO: Man rescued from uptown hotel air shaft

Police said the man was visiting from Sacramento and apparently was confused about which hotel he was staying in when he called 911. After initially telling dispatchers he was at the Westin, dispatchers told him to start yelling so they could find him and that’s when a guest at the Hilton heard him.

Fire officials said they also used cell phone triangulation to locate him. It took roughly 35 firefighters to help with the rescue.

The man, whose name has not been released, was taken to the hospital to get checked out but will be OK, according to police.

“He seemed pretty calm, surprisingly pretty calm. He was talking to us, coherent, not belligerent. Just a lucky guy who was happy to see us,” said CFD Battalion Chief Quinton Maver. “We’re his new best friend.”

Police said the man is not facing any charges.

In 2010, Channel 9 covered another incident where someone fell down an air shaft at an uptown hotel. A photojournalist with a television station out of Asheville fell down a shaft at the Omni and died.

He’d been up on the roof to watch the sunrise when he fell.

Officials said no charges would be filed against the man.

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