KINGSTON, Ont. — Cheers went up from the crowd when a military helicopter rescued a crane operator hanging on for his life over a blazing construction site in this eastern Ontario city.
After almost an hour of clinging to the very end of his crane, the chopper from CFB Trenton appeared through the smoke Tuesday afternoon.
He was carried away to hospital with minor injuries.
Before the arrival of the helicopter, onlookers shouted words of encouragement to the trapped man, hoping that the metal of the crane would not buckle and collapse before the arrival of the rescue mission.
Police said all other construction workers were accounted for.
One of the workers, Jeff Thyssen, said the fire started on the fifth floor of the building and it immediately blocked the only exit from the top floors, meaning the crane operator had no choice but to stay above it all.
The burning site was to be housing for Queens University students.
It took several hours for firefighters to battle heavy winds and get the fire under control. At one point, it threatened a nearby gas station.
The city provided busing for students and seniors affected by the fire as a wide stretch of the area was evacuated for much of Tuesday afternoon.
What sparked the fire and the cost of damage is still unknown.