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Fire crews rescue 2 women from Scarborough Bluffs cliff

Last Updated Sep 9, 2018 at 11:16 pm EDT

For the second time this weekend, Toronto Fire was called to conduct a dangerous rescue operation at the Scarborough Bluffs.

Fire crews responded to a call for two women stuck on a cliff face in the area of Undercliff Drive and Cecil Crescent around 4:15 p.m.

Toronto Fire Services chief Matthew Pegg said the women climbed one of the “self-standing” geological features at the bluffs and became trapped close to the peak, on the cliff face.

The structure is not connected to the other cliffs on the shoreline and hence not easily accessible. It is also devoid of any vegetation that might offer a foothold or something to grab on to.

Five firefighters were tethered to rope rescue lines and approached from both the top and bottom of the hill. They used ice picks to scale the structure, moving both horizontally and vertically to get to the women. Pegg said high winds made the rescue operations particularly grueling and dangerous.

“This is literally one of the most demanding and challenging tactical rescues I’ve ever witnessed,” said Pegg.

Eight firetrucks responded to the call and it took about three hours for both women to be rescued. Trenton Search and Rescue was also notified and a rescue helicopter was dispatched, but Pegg says it was cancelled and returned to base as they managed to rescue the women before it arrived.

Both women were assessed by paramedics at the base of the hill and were unhurt.

Pegg said that rescues such as this one are a “significant drain on resources, a significant risk to rescuers”

“There is nothing safe about trying to climb these bluffs,” he said. “These two young ladies incurred an extraordinary risk today. They are very very fortunate to be healthy, safe and sound.”

On Saturday, firefighters were called to the same area and rescued two other people who were stuck about a 100 metres from the top of the cliff. No injuries were reported.

Toronto fire and emergency services are reminding people that climbing the bluffs is unsafe.

“I don’t know why we keep having to do this … don’t climb the bluffs,” Pegg reiterated.

See photos from what Chief Pegg called an “extraordinary” rescue below: