A woman dangles from a railroad bridge in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. Witnesses told authorities she was crossing the bridge when it suddenly opened. She was rescued. / CBS News
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A woman got the scare of a lifetime when the railroad bridge she was walking along began to open - leaving her dangling helplessly.
Firefighters rescued the 55-year-old woman on Saturday. She was not hurt.
The woman, who had participated in a breast cancer awareness walk earlier in the day, was walking across the New River railroad bridge in Fort Lauderdale when it began to open. Witnesses called 911 to report that the woman was dangling 22 feet above the tracks with the bridge in the upright position, city officials said.
"To tell you the truth, honestly I thought it was probably like a stunt or something, it was just that unbelievable. I really didn't think she honestly was trapped up there at first," Ashanicka Powell told WTVJ.
Firefighters responded and helped rescue the woman using a 24-foot ladder as witnesses cheered them on.
"They harnessed the ladder up against the actual tracks and a firefighter went and got her and we were all clapping, like we were just amazed," Powell said.
The woman, who was wearing a pink shirt, told authorities she had taken part in a breast cancer awareness walk earlier Saturday morning. It was not clear why the woman, whose name was not immediately released, she was on the bridge since pedestrians are not allowed on it.
"We are thankful that the individual involved in this life-threatening incident survived. The decision to trespass on private property was an unfortunate, poor choice that endangered the trespasser's life as well as the lives of the first responders," Matt Little, spokesman for the city of Fort Lauderdale, told CBS Miami on Sunday.
"The decision to cross the clearly marked railroad bridge should not be lauded. We hope the news reports about this incident will help to educate the public about the dangers of pedestrians attempting to cross railroad bridges," he said.