CAYUGA, Ind. (WTHI) - The Terre Haute woman trapped in an elevator until late Tuesday night was offered food, bottled water and a book to read.
Offering literature to a stranded person like Ashley Hunt is considerate, though a good indication emergency responders are in no type of hurry!
"There really was no rush, other than we ran out of daylight," said Keith Holbert, assistant chief of the Sugar Creek Fire Department in West Terre Haute.
"She was laughing, cutting up; had a smile on her face," said Josh Milbourn, a firefighter and member of the department's state certified high-angle rope rescue team.
By all accounts, Hunt – a contract employee for Duke Energy, whose Cayuga plant is where the emergency unfolded – was trapped when the exterior construction elevator she was riding in stalled not far from the top of the building.
A good 200 to 250 feet in the air, according to the fire department's estimates. The men pointed out that Duke's on-site 135-foot lift didn't come anywhere close to the heights at which Hunt dangled for seven hours.
At 6:08 p.m., Duke decided to go off-site and summon for the emergency assistance of the Vermillion County Sheriff's Department, according to Sheriff Bob Spence.
"They wanted to let the elevator tech, who was coming out of Owensboro, Kentucky, get there -- and possibly let the elevator down that way," said Assistant Chief Holbert. A point a Duke Energy spokesman concurred with.
Finally, Chief Holbert said, at 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, the department's technical rescue team convinced Duke to let the 4-man crew do its job; Hunt was harnessed and hoisted to safety by team members by 10:20 p.m., according to the sheriff's department.
Lew Middleton, a spokesman for Duke Energy out of Plainfield, IN, told News 10 the company was standing by its decision to hold off on endangering more lives with a daring rescue. Additionally, Middleton said the energy giant had no prior problems with the elevator Hunt became trapped in.
As for victim Ashley Hunt herself, she did not respond to News 10's attempts to reach her. Hunt was, according to those on the scene, in good spirits; was Facebooking from the elevator; and was not even checked out at the hospital.
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