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Worker Rescued from Roosevelt Island Tram Tower

By  Aidan Gardiner and Ben Fractenberg | February 5, 2013 12:50pm | Updated on February 5, 2013 4:24pm

ROOSEVELT ISLAND — An iron worker was plucked to safety in a dizzying rescue operation after getting his foot caught in machinery for the Roosevelt Island Tram at least 100 feet above the ground Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

The worker was doing routine cable inspections above a tram car near the Roosevelt Island tower shortly after noon when the car moved slightly, trapping his foot between a wheel and cable, officials and responders said.

"His foot was trapped between two of the wheels. It seems his foot either slipped because of the snow or just the grease up there," said one of the rescuers, NYPD Emergency Services cop Russell Thatcher. "The cabin rolled a little and trapped his foot."

Rescuers used a hydraulic jack to lift up the wheel an inch or two, freeing his foot. They then put him in a basket and lowered him into another car staffed by cops, said NYPD Lt. Tim Krumm, a 19-year veteran.

"He was alert and conscious. He's a tough guy," Krumm added. "He was talking and he was doing fine."

Krumm was part of a five-man team from the NYPD's elite ESU unit that helped pluck the worker to safety just after 1:20 p.m.

"We're always up on top of that tower, whether it's for an emotionally disturbed person, a falcon in trouble, a drunk that's up there or an iron worker that gets injured in machinery," said responder Greg Welch.

"It's like a second playground up there for us."

Cops on the scene said the incident appeared to be an accident and no violations were issued.

The worker was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in serious but stable condition with injuries to his right leg, an FDNY spokesman said.

Tram service was temporarily suspended when the worker was trapped, but resumed about 2 p.m., according to OEM.