A St. Paul neighborhood is buzzing over a dramatic rescue on the bluffs along the Mississippi River after firefighters risked their lives to save a young woman who fell onto a ledge about 100 feet above the water.
Rescue workers had to deal with all of Mother Nature's obstacles to rescue Mary Webb, who is in good condition at Regions Hospital now.
Officials say Webb was taking a walk along the bluffs near Ford Parkway with her boyfriend when she took a wrong step that put her and her rescuers in danger.
What began as a hike on a wooded trail turned into a real cliff hanger when Webb fell onto a ledge about 30 feet below the trail. For the next hour and a half, firefighters and police officers battled the darkness and the rocky terrain to rescue her -- all while dangling 100 feet above the mighty Mississippi.
"You've got to do it in a way that doesn't put the rescuers in harms way and doesn't hurt her any more than she already is," said St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard while explaining the difficulties rescuers faced.
Nature threw another curve ball during the rescue mission too. While clearing the brush to help them reach Webb, rescuers disturbed a hive of bees and some firefighters were stung.
Despite the angry swarm, they didn't quit. Using a ladder truck for light and ropes to lower themselves, emergency workers eventually put Webb on a stretcher and hoisted her to safety.
"We are happy it wasn't worse," Zaccard said. "We were able to get to her quickly and safely enough to get her out of harms way."
Neighbors who had a bird's-eye view from the high-rise on the corner were quick to thank the firefighters for saving Webb's life, but rescue workers say the best way to thank them is to stay on the right path while enjoying and exploring the bluffs.
"We don't want to have to do this too often, so stay on the path," Zaccard urged. "That's why its here."
None of the firefighters who were stung needed to seek medical attention.