A woman trapped in the bell tower of a Soham church after breaking her ankle was rescued by firefighters.
Three fire crews from Cambridge were called to St Andrew’s Church, in High Street, at 9.50pm yesterday, where a 36-year-old woman was stuck in the bell tower, 65ft above ground level, with a suspected broken ankle.
The Rev Tim Alban-Jones said she had been with her husband and daughter, who was practicing bell-ringing with a member of the church, when she stepped off a box and broke her ankle.
He said: “The stairs are very steep and she couldn’t make it down so the fire service had to get involved.”
But thanks to the quick-thinking crews, she was rescued within 45 minutes of their arrival after being lowered all the way to the ground through a trap door.
Jon Smith, crew commander at Cambridge Red Watch, said: “Crews removed one of the trap doors in the floor of the ringing chamber, which the bells are hauled up through, and set up a tripod with a winch and associated safety lines.
“The casualty was then securely harnessed, attached to a firefighter, and lowered through the trap door 65 feet to the base of the tower, where she was handed over to ambulance crews.”
He added: “This was a relatively straight forward incident, but the specialist equipment and skills of the firefighters meant the woman was rescued within 45 minutes of our arrival on scene.”
The woman was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital by land ambulance.
Crews returned to their fire stations by 12.05am.