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'I'm really high up. I was going to jump,' 911 caller says

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
A 21-year-old male of Independence Township climbed the 200-foot tower at Pine Knob Ski Resort on Friday.

A man who climbed 200 feet to the top of a radio tower at Pine Knob Ski Resort changed his mind and called for help, saying it was windy and he couldn't get down. 

"I'm really high up. I was going to jump but I chickened out ... it's very windy," he said in a 911 call about 9:23 p.m. Friday.

The factory worker told the 911 dispatcher at the Oakland County Sheriff's Operations Center that his girlfriend had broken up with him, his parents got divorced and his best friend was t-boned by a semi-truck and had no memory of him. 

The caller, from Independence Township, said he had climbed a 200-foot tower on the south side of Pine Knob Ski Resort on Sashabaw Road and could not get down, police said. 

Deputies tried to talk him down,  but he said he was afraid to climb down. The Independence Township Fire Department Technical Rescue Team climbed the tower, placed him in a harness and lowered him to the ground. 

Paramedics treated him for exposure because of cold weather conditions and took him to McLaren-Oakland Hospital. 

A 21-year-old male was rescued from the top of a tower at Pine Knob Ski Resort.

On Tuesday, another man tried to jump off of the Interstate 96 overpass at Coolidge Road. The man was rescued by Huntington Woods police after 13 semi-trailers  positioned their rigs beneath the overpass to shorten the distance he would fall. 

Paramedics from Huron Valley Ambulance in the eight counties  in southeast Michigan  respond to 10-15 suicidal subjects a day; there have been 1,200 to 1,800 calls in the past four months, Emergent Health Partners said. 

Matt Rose, paramedic and Huron Valley spokesman, said dispatchers go through extensive training and use nationally recognized protocols when speaking with callers. 

"Our dispatchers go through 11 to 14 months of training, and during this time learn how to calm hysterical callers and provide medical instructions such as how to perform CPR or bleeding control," said Rose. "This experience provides the dispatcher with the knowledge and ability to keep a suicidal subject on the phone and calm while our paramedics and other first-responders such as the police and fire departments arrive on the scene."

Rose said calls  seasonally fluctuate. 

Emergency calls aren't the only option, Michigan State Police said.

"You can also call a loved one, member of the clergy or 911," MSP tweeted Tuesday. "There are so many people that can help you make the choice to get help and live! It is our hope to never see another photo like this again."

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.