A woman walking across a Fort Lauderdale drawbridge after a cancer walk Saturday was caught unawares as the bridge raised and left her stranded 22 feet in the air until she could be rescued.
Wanda McGowan, who according to her son is legally blind, apparently didn’t see signs saying no trespassing on the bridge, ABC News said
. As the bridge raised up, she clung to the 90-degree surface of railroad ties, her arms and legs shaking.
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McGowan was in the air about 20 minutes before a fire personnel were able to raise a 24-foot ladder to get her down.
ABC said people were crying in concern as McGowan held on, the entire time keeping her bright pink purse on her arm, and they cheered as she was brought safely down.
The Florida East Coast Railway operates the bridge, which remains up unless a train is coming, WPLG-TV in Miami said
. The TV station reported that the FEC can press charges for trespassing if the company so chooses.
ABC said that three years ago a college student was crossing the bridge when it went up and he died when he fell in the river below.
McGowan, 55, stayed calm and a witness couldn’t believe it was real.
“To tell you the truth, honestly I thought it was probably like a stunt or something, it was just that unbelievable. I really didn’t think she honestly was trapped up there at first,” Ashanicka Powell told NBC News
Another man on the scene, Philip Glazebrook, told NBC there were audio warnings that the bridge was being raised and that it’s controlled from far away.
“This bridge is controlled from Tallahassee. There’s not a bridge minder here anymore,” Glazebrook said. “So she’s stuck on the bridge and she’s going up. The next thing is, she’s stuck, straddled like Jesus Christ.”
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