USS Midway Museum worker misses step and falls 15 feet down shaft of aircraft carrier

SAN DIEGO - A 71-year-old volunteer worker at the USS Midway Museum plunged from one deck of the retired aircraft carrier to another Thursday and became wedged in a hatch, necessitating a 45-minute rescue effort to free him.

The man took the fall shortly after 8 a.m. aboard the retired warship docked in the Embarcadero waterfront area, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

"He apparently just missed the hatchway and fell into it, and fell approximately 15 feet," said SDFRD Battalion Chief David Connor. "He had some injuries where he was unable to self extricate himself so they called the fire department."

The accident left the victim stuck "essentially in a hole," requiring emergency personnel to carefully hoist him out, load him in a gurney and carry him up to the top deck of the 68-year-old vessel, SDFRD spokesman Lee Swanson said.

A docent on the ship told 10News there are many places that can be tricky on an aircraft carrier.

"That's why you see everybody most everybody carrying radios. You shouldn't be walking around alone," the museum docent said.

An ambulance crew then took him to UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest for treatment of injuries of undetermined severity.

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