WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — First responders in Hays helped a distraught man who was at the top of a grain elevator in downtown Hays on Friday night.
A news release from the Hays Police Department (HPD) says on Dec. 30 at 4:20 p.m., officers received a call of a man on the grain elevator downtown. Officers responded and set up a perimeter, blocking off the streets close to the grain elevator. Firefighters and EMS were called as well.
Police say the man had arrived in Hays recently and had already had contact with police before this incident.
The news release says the man was yelling and pacing back and forth at the very top of the tallest grain elevator. They say they heard him but could not discern what he was saying. Police say he took off his jacket and was throwing debris off the roof, including a hammer.
Grain elevator employees helped officers get into the elevator. Special flashlights were given to officers to reduce the risk of flash explosion with the grain dust inside the elevator.
Police say officers navigated some difficult conditions, including slick ladders and a small one-person elevator, to get closer to the man so they could communicate. The man was somewhat responsive, but eventually stopped responding to the negotiator.
The release says a drone was used to help officers see what was going on at the top of the elevator and to communicate with the man, but the man ignored it.
When the man was on the south side of the elevator, he slung himself over the edge and fell approximately 25 feet to the next level. He suffered serious injuries and told police he couldn’t move. This prompted EMS to get into the elevator and start working the rescue.
Over the next several hours, first responders worked to lower the man safely to the ground. Once he was on the ground, he was taken to an area hospital for medical treatment.
The Kansas Highway Patrol, Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, Ellis County EMS, Goodland firefighters, and a Rooks County Deputy all responded to the call.