NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - Crew members from Suffolk and Newport News tell WAVY.com they were pushed to the limits Monday during a daring rescue at the MMMBT.
The driver of a tractor trailer overcorrected traveling southbound on the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel, overturning the cab and crashing over the wall. Almira Ribic, 43, was dangling over the water for more than an hour as crews worked to save her.
In his 18 years with the Suffolk Fire Department, Lt. Rick Ruppe said Monday's rescue was the first of its kind for him.
"It's up there with the more challenging ones," Ruppe said.
He operated the ladder on the fire truck which had to lower between the MMMBT's northbound and southbound lanes.
"Initially, we were told her lower extremities could possibly be entrapped, so we had everything in the ladder truck with us in case we had to do any actual cutting," Ruppe said. "I was just trying to make sure that she stayed put, tried to stay still as possible and just encouraged her to remain there."
A tactical rescue team from Newport News assisted in the rescue. They, much like Ruppe and the Suffolk firefighters, had never trained for this kind of scenario.
The crews then tied a rope around Ribic and lifted her out. Paramedics said Ribic was shocked, but remained calm as she was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
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