A crowd of nearly 200 gathered below to pray as a man clung to a ladder on an old water tower 125-feet high in the city of Henderson late Sunday, the Henderson Dispatch reported.
After a harrowing three hours, police, emergency first responders and the man’s family finally coaxed him down, according to the newspaper.
Henderson is 36 miles northeast of Durham along Interstate 85 and has a population of about 15,300.
The call came into authorities as a possible suicide attempt.
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As the man continued to refuse to leave the tower, the crowd below grew. They prayed, shouted words of encouragement and pleaded with him to come down, Henderson City Council member Melissa Elliott told the Dispatch.
When the man agreed to climb down, the Henderson Fire Department used its aerial fire truck to safely retrieve him and turn him over to Vance County EMS.
“When he began to come down, the people began to clap, and it was beautiful,” Elliott told the Dispatch. “The first responders were hugging him, and it was just beautiful at the end.”
Henderson Fire Chief Steve Cordell told the Dispatch his men followed their training and did a great job getting the man down. Still, he said, people can help avert such situations by making use of the numerous mental health services available in the area.