Neil Allport being lowered through the access ports at the top of the Gladstone Metro Hotel.
Neil Allport being lowered through the access ports at the top of the Gladstone Metro Hotel.

Man winched from hotel after breaking ankle

HE hung from the top of a building like Tom Cruise and needed to race off to hospital for more than a bruise.

Neil Allport, a maintenance worker at the Metro Hotel in Gladstone, was up in the lift control motor room above the top floor before a frightening incident began.

His co-worker had gone downstairs for a drink when Mr Allport slipped on a two-step ladder.

When he looked at his ankle he knew it was broken. His colleague returned and was told to call the ambulance.

After the ambos climbed the 30-odd steps in the small stairwell to the motor room, it was obvious Mr Allport would struggle to make it down.

"There was no way those ambulance ladies were going to get me down those steps one at a time on my bum," Mr Allport said.

"It was a very narrow stairwell."

A Queensland Fire and Emergency Service crew were on another job when the ambos asked for help.

When firefighter Steve Axon arrived he said they noticed an access port to bring up the lift motors when the building was being built.

"We decided it would be easier to lift him down through there," he said.

"Once QAS had given him enough drugs to deal with the pain, we put the harness on him and it just fit.

"He was lucky because he was just 10kg under the safe working weight."

Firefighter Steven Axon with the man he rescued, Neil Allport.
Firefighter Steven Axon with the man he rescued, Neil Allport. Mike Richards

Mr Allport was lowered two levels onto an ambulance wheelchair and whisked away to the hospital.

It was just another routine job for the firies.

"It was a simple 'vert rescue'. We had two Level 2 technicians, myself and Crystal," Mr Axon said.

"We offered our advice to officers; they accepted it and set it all up. Probably couldn't have gone any better."

Mr Allport went to the Gladstone Mater Hospital, but could not be admitted because his Work Cover wasn't accepted.

So he endured the ordeal of the hour-long drive by ambulance to Hillcrest Hospital in Rockhampton.

"The bumpy ride was not too good, but the morphine helped a lot," Mr Allport said.

"It worked out for the best because the Hillcrest Hospital had great food, Foxtel and my own room."

The ankle was certainly broken and a plate was inserted with half-a-dozen screws.

He has to stay off his feet for six weeks and is only halfway there.

Mr Allport said he had realised how hard life would be without the emergency services.

"My heartfelt gratitude goes to all involved," he said.

"Thanks. I'm very grateful. And I know I may not have been very grateful at the time."



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