Emergency crews rescue crane operator above downtown Tampa

- Firefighters conducted a nail-biting rescue in downtown Tampa's Channelside district Wednesday morning. A crane operator suffered a medical episode while on the job, requiring first responders to climb the massive machinery and quickly get him down to safety.

It happened around 8:30 Wednesday morning at the new Publix job site in Channelside.

7-year Tampa Fire Rescue veteran Roland Alfonso and a team from Station 1 climbed the 190-foot crane with equipment in tow. They then strapped the man into a stokes basket, attached it to the crane, harnessed Alfonso alongside him, and relied on a different crane operator to lower the two to safety.

"Wasn't too bad of a ride. A lot easier going down than it was going up," Alfonso said.

Those on the ground watched and waited as the nearly two-hour rescue took place.

"It's really a testimony of the men and women that serve us and put that uniform on every day," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said from the scene.

Alfonso insists he's no hero. He says he was just doing his job, and today, it happened to be from extraordinary heights.

"We train for this and I'm glad we do train for this kind of stuff because it seemed like everything went smooth and everything worked out well today," he said.

We're told the crane operator was conscious when he was taken away by ambulance. He's being treated at Tampa General Hospital. 

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