October 14th, 2013
08:30 AM ET

Bizarre Drawbridge Rescue Caught On Tape

A 55-year-old Florida woman stranded on a raised drawbridge holds on for dear life as firefighters race to save her for a harrowing twenty minutes and the dramatic rescue is caught on video.

But the woman, identified as Wanda McGowan, wasn't supposed to be on the train tracks – an area closed to pedestrians. Her son said she's legally blind and couldn't see the "no trespassing" sign.

CNN's Pamela Brown reports.

In the video, McGowan clings on seemingly frozen to the crossing with her legs locked.

Her hands press tightly to the structure as below, a crowd of onlookers snap photos, some that end up on Twitter.

After a flurry of calls to 911, the Fort Lauderdale fire department hoist a twenty-four foot ladder and bring her down to the cheering crowd.

The woman wearing pink had reportedly just finished a cancer walk Saturday morning called "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer,"
when the bridge went up with her on it.

The bridge over Fort Lauderdale's New River is remotely controlled.

Once she walked out on it and it started up there was no way to stop it and no way for her to get off.

Now it's up to the railroad company to decide whether or not to press charges against her.

A spokesman from that  company says that there is another person - believed to be her friend - who ran across the bridge as well, but did not get stuck.

As soon as they interview McGowan and that person, they will determine whether any charges will be filed.


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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Ashley

    But if she is legally blind maybe she isn't such a" moron" and missed the warning signs. I mean my god accidents do happen.

    October 16, 2013 at 8:56 am | Reply
  2. jamie

    I know a great shortcut.

    October 15, 2013 at 8:30 am | Reply
  3. Dave Morgan

    They should have left her stranded on the bridge, as a warning to other future idiots–what a moron!

    October 14, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  4. Petra Stinchecum

    She is stupid, obviously. She deliberately ignored the warning signs, as well as the fact, that the bridge was not even for pedestrians! Rescuing her only encourages other's to do the same! They should have NOT rescued her. Besides, WHO is paying for the rescue effort now??? most likely the tax payers!

    October 14, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Reply
  5. psttp

    Here's to guessing the fact she was involved in the charity walk event is why she is not facing charges or being sent a hefty rescue bill. I also feel there should be more obvious signs posted about the draw bridge, how it works and what can happen so people more fully understand how dangerous this particular crossing is.

    October 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Reply

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