Man Dies After Getting Stuck on Top of a 290-Foot Chimney

October 29, 2019 Updated: October 31, 2019

A man who was trapped upside down at the top of a 290-foot industrial chimney in Carlisle, United Kingdom, for about 15 hours has died, police have confirmed.

Police first responded to a call at 2:22 a.m. local time on Oct. 28 with reports that a man was stuck on top of the chimney, prompting a multi-agency rescue operation.

Cumbria Police, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, and the North West Ambulance Service responded, however the man, who was in his 50s, died before he could be rescued, officers confirmed.

Cumbria Police Supt. Matt Kennerley said all agencies “worked as quickly as possible” to try and rescue the man. He has not been named, but is believed to be a local resident.

“The operation involved road closures, the use of drones to assess the scene, a helicopter, and a cherry-picker brought in from Glasgow. All this was done with the aim of bringing the man down safely and while maintaining the safety of emergency services staff,” Kennerley told The Guardian.

At the time of the call, the man’s condition was unknown, but when his body was retrieved by fire and rescue services, he had been dangling upside down shirtless from the top of Dixon’s Chimney for more than half a day.

Cumbria Police confirmed his death in a statement at 5:30 p.m. on Monday.

“Police can confirm that a man who was trapped at height on Dixon’s Chimney in Carlisle and later recovered during a multi-agency operation has been confirmed as deceased,” police said.

“Paramedics pronounced the man, in his 50s and from Carlisle, deceased at the scene at around 4:45 p.m.”

It is still unclear how the man became trapped on top of the former 19th-century cotton mill, a Grade II listed building. Residents in the area told the Mirror they heard “wailing” from the structure in the early hours of Oct. 28 before emergency services responded.

In a bid to rescue the trapped man, authorities deployed a drone to assess the scene, a helicopter, and a cherry picker from Glasgow.

After a failed rescue attempt using the helicopter, specialized firefighters and technicians made their way to the top of the chimney with the cherry picker, and brought the man back down.

A police spokesman said they had lost contact with the man for “some hours” before they reached him with the cherry picker.

“The thoughts of all the emergency services and partners are with the family and friends of the man. Specialist welfare police officers are supporting his family at this difficult time,” Kennerley said.

Cumbria Police said an investigation will be launched into how and why the man ended up on top of the chimney.

“The constabulary will be informing Her Majesty’s coroner,” Kennerley added.

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