Woman rescued after being trapped on O'Connell Center
Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 12:01 p.m.
A University of Florida graduate who reportedly told a friend that she had always wanted to climb to the top of the O'Connell Center was rescued early Thursday morning after slipping and becoming trapped in a rain-collection area of the building.
Teodora Latinska, 23, of Gainesville, was about 20 feet up on one of the concrete rain gutters on the side of the building when she slipped and fell at around 2:21 a.m., according to University Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Kristy Sasser.
Latinska had been drinking at a midtown bar with Kevin McMahon, 28, Sasser said. As they neared the center, she told McMahon of her long-held desire to summit the O'Dome, Sasser said.
As Latinska tried to get over a support that doubles as a channel for rainwater runoff, she lost her footing on the slippery incline, according to a Gainesville Fire Rescue report.
She slid feet-first down the open trough of the concrete gutter and became wedged in a 2-foot by 4-foot wide enclosed channel that is used to collect and divert rainwater. She straddled a pair of metal cross members that help collect debris, the report said.
A UPD officer was nearby and saw McMahon, who had not climbed the building, walking around the area, Sasser said. McMahon told the officer about the trapped woman.
About 16 firefighters from GFR and Alachua County Fire Rescue responded, according to the GFR report.
The GFR company officer, a member of the department's multi-agency Urban Search and Rescue Team, Task Force 8, and other responders trained in technical rescues managed to get Latinska out of the confined area.
She was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital, where she was being treated for several broken bones, Sasser said.
A sworn misdemeanor complaint for trespassing will be issued to Latinska, Sasser said.
Sasser said UPD has heard reports over the years of other students who have climbed, or attempted to climb, the O'Connell Center and other buildings on the UF campus.
Other people practicing parkour, in which participants use buildings and other structures as a form of obstacle course, have run over and climbed across campus structures, she said.