Woman plunges down garbage chute

June 18, 2010 2:24:07 PM PDT
Frightened, but fortunate to make it out alive. That's how rescuers describe this woman, who told one police officer her name was Jewel, but she couldn't say much more.

"This is a very unusual circumstance. You're not used to finding a person, let alone, a full grown lady, trapped in a compactor chute," Lt. Terry Walsh said.

"I asked her how she got in there and she gave me a blank stare, basically. Wasn't too sure," Lt. Ray McCarthy said.

Firefighters say the garbage chute inside a residential building at SUNY Downstate Medical Center was probably no bigger than 1 and a half by 2 feet.

The woman slid down the chute from the 6th floor. Fortunately, SUNY Downstate police officer David Blanc got there first.

"She was sliding down rapidly. While 9-1-1 was notified, I was forced to remove the weapons from my gunbelt and use it as a temporary rope," he said.

Another officer held him down until firefighters got here with their own rope.

"Members attempted to provide her with air because it is a confined space," Chief Butch Brandes said. "Next thing we knew, she was gone. She had dropped down to the fourth floor."

Thankfully, their rope held her in place long enough for others to chisel a hole in the wall that was just the right size.

"She definitely could've been in shock. I gotta be honest, she didn't say a word," Lt. Mike Russo said.

She was taken to the emergency room at the adjoining Kings County Hospital, but officials said she did not suffer any serious injuries.

The cause of the fall is under investigation.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center said the victim is the adult daughter of a hospital employee.

The employee lives in the building, which partially serves as a residential facility for some SUNY Downstate Medical Center.