Updated: Monday, 14 Sep 2009, 6:18 PM EDT
Published : Sunday, 13 Sep 2009, 11:34 PM EDT
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Spanning the North Landing River, the Pungo Ferry Bridge slides more than fifty feet above the waterway and the surrounding marshlands. Sunday morning, the picturesque bridge became the scene of a rescue when firefighters, on their way to training, came here for the real thing.
"We were just at the right place at the right time," said Virginia Beach firefighter Jason Probst.
Firefighters said a cyclist fell over the bridge, plummeting nearly fifty feet to the wetlands below, after another cyclist hit him from behind. A WAVY News 10 viewer and retired firefighter gave us video of rescue crews at work. In the video, you can see Jason Probst heading over the edge.
"You could see a bike laying in the marsh, one patient," said Probst, adding, "young guy, a kid."
The stranded cyclist below had managed to climb from the marsh to the four-foot high bridge pilings. The marsh may have cushioned his fall and prevented serious injury. Firefighters said the cyclist was cold, wet and waiting for help. He was injured, but in stable condition.
"He was very, very cold and wanted to get out of there," said firefighter Courtney Walters, who assisted in the rescue.
Firefighters worked their way down the bridge, anchored from a ladder truck on top. An ambulance waited nearby with a stretcher, ready to race the cyclist to the hospital when he cleared the guardrail.
"He was doing fantastic for what he'd just been through," said Walters. "From the initial call that he had gone thirty feet over the bridge, we were expecting the worst when we got there."
The cyclist's father, Jeff Craddock, was watching from above the entire time. A day after the crash, he said, "I leaned over the wall and said, 'Hey Elliot!' and he looked up and said, 'I'm ok!'."
Inch by inch, firefighters winched Elliott Craddock up. The second he was over the side of the bridge, firefighters grabbed him and brought him to safety with his father standing nearby, thanking firefighters for their efforts.
"He is pretty sore to say the least," said Jeff Craddock. "He got up this morning and you could tell that he was not feeling his normal self but he's in pretty good shape, considering what he went through."
The rescue video is courtesy of Martin Grube.
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