VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Spanning the North Landing River, the Pungo Ferry Bridge slidesmore than fifty feet above the waterway and the surroundingmarshlands. Sunday morning, the picturesque bridge became the sceneof a rescue when firefighters, on their way to training, came herefor the real thing.
"We were just at the right place at the right time," saidVirginia Beach firefighter Jason Probst.
Firefighters said a cyclist fell over the bridge, plummetingnearly fifty feet to the wetlands below, after another cyclisthit him from behind. A WAVY News 10 viewer and retiredfirefighter 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," saidProbst, adding, "young guy, a kid."
The stranded cyclist below had managed to climb from the marshto the four-foot high bridge pilings. The marsh may have cushionedhis fall and prevented serious injury. Firefighters said thecyclist was cold, wet and waiting for help. He was injured, but instable condition.
"He was very, very cold and wanted to get out of there," saidfirefighter Courtney Walters, who assisted in the rescue.
Firefighters worked their way down the bridge, anchored from aladder truck on top. An ambulance waited nearby with a stretcher,ready to race the cyclist to the hospital when he cleared theguardrail.
"He was doing fantastic for what he'd just been through," saidWalters. "From the initial call that he had gone thirty feet overthe bridge, we were expecting the worst when we got there."
The cyclist's father, Jeff Craddock, was watching from above theentire time. A day after the crash, he said, "I leaned overthe wall and said, 'Hey Elliot!' and he looked up and said, 'I'mok!'."
Inch by inch, firefighters winched Elliott Craddock up. Thesecond he was over the side of the bridge, firefighters grabbed himand brought him to safety with his father standing nearby, thankingfirefighters 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 feelinghis normal self but he's in pretty good shape, considering what hewent through."
The rescue video is courtesy of MartinGrube.
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