A woman living an urban reenactment of 127 Hours after getting herself lodged in a one-foot gap between two building in downtown Portland was happily rescued before — spoiler alert! — having to gnaw off her own arm.
Early this morning, firefighters were called to the intersection of 12th and Columbia, where residents reported hearing a woman's cries for help emanating from a narrow space between two buildings.
Witnesses said they saw the woman walking and smoking on the roof of one of the buildings before falling into the two-story gap.
She remained suspended a few feet above ground for four hours while rescue crews tried to determine the best way to pull her out.
"We had to look at several different options: whether to try to hoist her out or cut into the wall," Portland Fire Bureau rep Lt. Rich Chatman told The Oregonian.
Before finally settling on the removal of concrete blocks from the wall of the second building — a parking garage — firefighters first tried using a rope to lift the woman out, but that quickly proved futile.
They also tried expanding the space with an air bag, and lubricating the woman with soapy water. "It was so tight, we needed every bit of help," said Chatman.
Firefighters kept her warm by sending down a blanket and pumping hot air into the crack with a long tube. They also supplied her with water to avoid dehydration.
Eventually, firefighters were able to remove enough of the wall to allow the woman to squeeze her way out.
She remained conscious throughout the ordeal, and, aside from some exhaustion, was reportedly in good health. Lt. Damon Simmons said the incident provided a great real-world test of the Urban Search and Rescue units preparedness.
"They're ready for when the big earthquake hits," he told the Associated Press.