Workers rescued after being stuck in strong winds outside Melbourne CBD high-rise building


November 02, 2018 13:19:31

Two workers have been rescued from the outside of a Melbourne CBD high-rise building after the suspended platform they were working on became unstable in strong winds.

Key points:

  • Workers were doing maintenance when wind suddenly “kicked up”
  • High-angle rescue crews used harnesses and ladders to rescue the workers
  • Severe weather warnings issued for more damaging winds over the city

The pair had been stuck on a swinging gantry 34 storeys up the side of the building as 90 kilometres per hour winds swept through the city after unusually warm overnight conditions.

They were unable to raise or lower the gantry.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) was called to the scene at 35 Spring Street just before 8:00am.

“They were completing some maintenance work on the outside of the building when the wind, all of a sudden, kicked up,” said MFB Commander Rick Gili.

“The gantry started to move excessively more than it should have due to the strong winds.

“The operators in the gantry became uncomfortable and concerned for their safety and called the fire brigade.”

Specialist high-angle rescue teams were called to the scene and secured the gantry before using harnesses and a ladder to help the men climb out of the gantry and into the building just after 8:35am.

The high winds are causing concerns for emergency officials trying to secure the gantry.

“We’re now in the process of determining whether we’re going to lower it, take it back up to the roof of the building or move it … three or four metres and have it secured,” Commander Gili said.

“We’ve been informed that there are 90 kph [winds] with squalls coming so we need to do this fairly quickly.”

Raised dust over Melbourne’s west

The rescue happened as there were reports of raised dust west of the city but Steven McGibbony, from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said there was not enough dust to call it a dust storm.

“Given it’s been quite a windy day and a dry winter with some loose dirt around on the ground, it’s not surprising [that in] these kind of windy conditions things can blow up some dust and it can end up in reduced visibility,” he said.

The BOM issued a severe weather warning for damaging winds for most of the southern part of Victoria.

“Conditions will stay quite windy, especially through inland areas this afternoon, we’re expecting some pretty fresh and gusty westerly winds,” said Mr McGibbony.

“The storm risk continues throughout the day gradually moving east.

“Certainly we will start to see the temperatures easing off this evening, probably in the Melbourne area from around 4:00pm or 5:00pm.”







First posted

November 02, 2018 08:57:20

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