BONITA SPRINGS, Fla.- It's a job few people would dare to do-- scaling the side of a sky-high radio tower. We now know more about a man who did that for a living, and lost his life while on the job Monday. Friends of Nick Rouskey tell WINK News he had more than 30 years experience under his belt. But Monday night, it took four people with minimal tower-climbing experience to bring him back to the ground.
"I've never had to do any high angle rescue or recovery before, but yes, we do train for incidents like this," said Chris Martin, a Firefigher/EMT with the Estero Fire Department and a member of Florida's Task Force 6.
Martin put that training to the test Monday night, when given the task of climbing the tower with three others in hopes of bringing Rouskey back to the ground safely.
A day after the climb, Martin recalls what he was feeling as he put on the harness and began his ascent.
"A little bit of nerves, a little bit of excitement, and worry for the guy who was up there and how he was and how we were gonna get him down," Martin said.
Unfortunately, Nick Rouskey was found dead near the top of the tower off Old 41 Road in Bonita Springs.
Those who knew Rouskey say he was a skilled tower-climber and contracted electrician. He was up near the top of the tower to change a light bulb. Friends called him a "true professional".
It took Martin 45 minutes to scale the tower to reach Rouskey.
"It probably took a little longer, maybe an hour to get him down," Martin said.
Martin admits he is fearful of heights, but says once he got to work, his fear slipped to the back of his mind.
"There was probably 8 to 10 inches last night in the breeze," he said. "That made me nervous. I had to think to myself, 'These guys are up here, they climb it on a regular basis, so it has to be somewhat stable and safe'."
Martin says he did the math and when he calculated, he figured out that he was more than 50 stories up. That's taller than any other building in Southwest Florida.
Nick Rouskey's body has been taken to the medical examiner's office.
A cause of death has not yet been released.
WINK News spoke with the company that manages that tower. Jerry Heckerman with Super Towers, Inc. said, "It's a very tragic accident. Nick Rouskey was a well-known, highly qualified power contractor. We feel very badly for his family and their loss."
Super Towers says OSHA and the Lee County Sheriff's Office are investigating.