Nova Scotia

Man rescued after scaling 30-metre-high Halifax construction crane, falling asleep

A man had to be rescued Friday after being found asleep and locked in the cab of a Halifax construction crane 30 metres off the ground.

'So many things could have gone wrong,' says district fire chief

A man had to be rescued Friday after climbing this construction crane on Joseph Howe Drive in Halifax. (Pat Callaghan/CBC)

A construction crew in Halifax had a surprise Friday morning when they arrived at work.

They found a man in his 20s, unresponsive and locked inside the cab at the top of a 30-metre-tall construction crane.

The man, believed to be intoxicated, had fallen asleep after scaling the crane overnight on Joseph Howe Drive, a busy stretch of road connecting the Armdale roundabout and the Bedford Highway.

Brad Connors, district chief of Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, said the construction crew called 911 around 7:15 a.m. AT after the crane operator had unsuccessfully tried to rouse the man.

"[This situation was] very dangerous," said Connors. "Construction crews are trained in climbing techniques and safety procedures and the operation of the crane itself.... there's many hazards that civilians are not trained for."

The man was unresponsive when discovered locked inside the cab of this crane. (Pat Callaghan/CBC)

Rescue technicians were sent to the scene and managed to wake up the man.

Once they determined he did not require immediate medical attention, they created a plan to get him safely back on the ground.

The man was placed in a harness with ropes attached to anchor points on the crane and managed to climb down himself while rescue technicians monitored from above and below.

"Our rescue technicians did a fantastic job," said Connors.

If the man had been unable to climb down on his own, the technicians could have put him in a basket or harness and tethered him to their own bodies.

No charges expected, say police

Halifax Regional Police said they spoke to the man and no charges are expected at this time.

"[This was the] best-case scenario for our members, for their safety and obviously for the individual who decided to climb up there," said Connors. "So many things could have gone wrong."

As for anyone else hoping to get a look at the city from above, Connors suggested they go to Citadel Hill, and check out the view in a safe way.


Nicola Seguin is a TV, radio, and online journalist with CBC Nova Scotia, based in Kjipuktuk (Halifax). She often covers issues surrounding housing and homelessness. If you have a story idea, email her at or find her on twitter @nicseg95.