Emergency crews rescue child from ventilation shaft

By | August 4, 2020

WINNIPEG — A child is recovering in hospital after falling through a ventilation shaft near an apartment complex in the 200 block of Ronald Street.

On Monday evening Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) responded to a call that someone had fallen into an air vent – when they found it was a child they called in the Technical Rescue Task Force.

“They’re the group that would respond to any specialty rescues involving high angle calls, confined space, trench or collapse type of incidents,” said Ihor Holowczynski, assistant chief for fire rescue operations.

“This (air vent) would be considered a confined space.”

Robin Wilton lives in the apartment block – Monday evening he saw emergency crews piling up in front of his building.

“I noticed there were different firefighters with different uniforms so I knew it had to be something more drastic,” said Wilton.

He witnessed the rescue from his apartment window – and saw them take the child away in an ambulance.

“It looked like they had a harness and I think they had sent someone down in there to retrieve (them),” said Wilton.

Holowczynski said the air vent was close to 20 feet deep, and the team had to use a specialized tripod with a rope system to rescue them.

“The rescuer is lowered into position to do the medical care for the victim, and then to package them and allow for removal.”

Holowczynski said it was a successful rescue.

He can’t divulge the condition of the victim at this time because it’s a child, but they’re hoping for a positive outcome.

Holowczynski said this is a rare occurrence, but he recommends people avoid walking over grates and vents whenever possible, and always be aware of your surroundings.

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