Connecting Alaska to the World And the World to Alaska
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Delta, Greely EMS rescue fall victim at Tanana River bridge

Rural Deltana Volunteer Fire Department
Fort Greely and Delta Junction-area first responders set up ropes and rigging on the Tanana Bridge at Big Delta early Saturday morning to rescue a person who'd fallen about 30 feet from the bridge to an ice shelf on the river.

Emergency-service personnel rescued an injured person early Saturday morning who’d apparently fallen off the Tanana River bridge at Big Delta, about eight miles north of Delta Junction.

Alaska State Troopers say they got a report at around 5:45 a.m. Saturday that a woman had fallen off the bridge and was laying on an ice shelf about 30 feet below.

Rural Deltana Volunteer Fire Department
EMS personnel lower Fort Greely Fire Department Capt. Justin Cotton off the bridge down onto an ice shelf where the injured victim was lying.

Troopers and Delta Junction-area emergency personnel responded and set up a rescue operation on the bridge and closed the Richardson Highway to traffic intermittently for about an hour-and-a-half, while the operation was under way. A Fort Greely EMS responder who’s been trained in so-called high-angle rescues was lowered off one side of the bridge down to the ice, where he checked out the victim and secured her in an apparatus that lifted her back up to the bridge.

Delta Medical Transport personnel then took the victim to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where she was listed in critical condition.

Troopers didn’t identify the victim in the report posted Saturday evening, and a spokesperson said Sunday they aren’t providing any additional information while they’re investigating the circumstances under which the victim fell off the bridge -- including why she was there and how it happened.

Tim Ellis has been working as a KUAC reporter/producer since 2010. He has more than 30 years experience in broadcast, print and online journalism.