Workers fall 40 ft on Ross Island Bridge

2 men suffered serious injuries, taken to OHSU

Two construction workers were seriously injured when they fell 40 to 50 feet on the Ross Island Bridge and were rescued by a PF&R aerial platform truck, February 8, 2017 (KOIN)
Two construction workers were seriously injured when they fell 40 to 50 feet on the Ross Island Bridge and were rescued by a PF&R aerial platform truck, February 8, 2017 (KOIN)


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Two construction workers fell between 40 and 50 feet on the Ross Island Bridge Wednesday morning, suffering serious injuries and requiring a dramatic rescue by Portland firefighters.

The men, part of a crew employed by Abhe and Svoboda Inc. of Minnesota, are father and son, company officials confirmed. Around 8:15 a.m., one fell from the upper to the lower scaffolding inside the containment area, ODOT’s Dave Thompson told KOIN 6 News. That man hurt the second worker on the lower scaffolding when he fell.

Portland Fire & Rescue crews used an aerial platform truck to rescue the workers, carefully strapping them to a gurney and slowly lowering them to the ground.

The men were taken by ambulance to OHSU and both were conscious during the rescue, PF&R Lt. Rich Chatman told KOIN 6 News.

“Just watching the rescue, it definitely looked like they were really fortunate to have just fallen as far as they did as opposed to all the way to the ground,” Chatman said.

This particular rescue technique is only required a few times a year, but PF&R crews practice it frequently.

Co-worker Omar Rubi told KOIN 6 News one fell through a manhole that connects the 2 scaffolding floors with a ladder. Rubi said the father was trying to help his son.

“There’s holes where there shouldn’t be covered by pieces of plywood,” Rubi told KOIN 6 News. “There is scaffolding that bent, that we probably shouldn’t be using because it’s got too much weight on it. There’s people that don’t hook up to the scaffolding, so if you slip you’re guaranteed a very painful landing.”

Abhe and Svoboda Inc. was hired as part of a $30 million bridge rehab project that will remove lead paint and repaint the bridge. Abhe and Svoboda reported the incident to Oregon OSHA, who is now investigating the details of the accident.

KOIN 6 News reporter Brent Weisberg contributed to this report.