PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – First responders were forced to stop rush hour traffic Friday night to help a woman in crisis stuck under the Fremont Bridge deck.
Crisis negotiators with the Portland Police Bureau prepared a rope rescue and “convinced her to allow him to secure her with a safety harness” just after 5 p.m.
Officials were trying to get a crisis negotiator to the woman when she made her way to the edge, seeking help. Officer Chase Bryson said the case was “extra challenging” because she had “put herself in a position where we couldn’t talk to her.”
“We don’t know what this woman’s state of mind was and so obviously, the last thing we want is for her to accidentally slip or decide she doesn’t want help and injure herself or fall,” Bryson said.
With the help of firefighters to lower him, Bryson strapped into his harness and rappelled down to save her. He said the fire bureau helped get him down safely to put them both on a rope.
“I went down in a harness and brought an extra rope and a rescue harness that I was able to put on her. She was at the point where she wanted help,” Bryson said. “We walked her through the process of what I was doing to get the harness on her. We were able to get the harness on her, and the fire bureau raised us both up back over the edge.”
The woman, who remains unnamed to the public, was then taken to a hospital for further help.
Officers say that due to the sensitive nature of this rescue, it was fortunate the Crisis Negotiation Team and Special Emergency Reaction Team officers, along with Portland Fire and Rescue, were there.
“Stuff like today, having trained with them, we can just come together seamlessly and work as a team,” Bryson said.
All traffic on the Fremont Bridge’s lower deck was closed at the bridge’s northbound I-405 crossing. Traffic has since reopened.