WEIRD NEWS
11/10/2012 08:54 am ET

Helen Springthorpe, Bell Ringer, Nearly Dies While In Church Belfry (PHOTOS)

Helen Springthorpe's bell was almost rung -- literally -- when she got tangled in ropes while in a church belfry and nearly died.

Springthorpe, 58, a bell ringer at St Nicholas Church, in Bathampton, U.K., had to be rescued by firefighters after becoming tangled up and trapped 20 feet above the belfry floor during a practice session earlier this week, HuffPost UK reported.

Springthorpe was a novice who had only been on the job for three months before the accident, which, according to The Telegraph, happened on her first "pull" of the night with six other campanologists -- the fancy term for "bell ringers."

"I don’t remember very much at all, I started pulling the bells and the next thing I knew I was looking at a paramedic," Springthorpe, who also works as a typist, told the Daily Mail. "I have no real memory of it at all. I have no memory of being caught up. I think I hit my head on the wall and then fell over and hit it on the floor -– it wasn’t that exciting. The exciting bit was being rescued by all the firemen."

The rescue crews had to wring their hands figuring out a way to rescue Springthorpe before she became a dead ringer. The staircase to the belfry was too narrow so firefighters had to lift up a section of the floor in order to lower her to the ground in a stretcher, the BBC reported.

Despite the harrowing experience, Springthorpe has made a full recovery, but officials are using the incident as a way to let the public know about the possible hazards of bell-ringing.

Barrie Dove, an official for the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, told ChurchTimes.com that bell-ringing is, for the most part, a very safe past-time.

"I know of only one fatality in the past 50 years," he said. "But you need to be careful: bells weigh several hundredweight and should be treated with care."

PHOTO GALLERIES
Firefighters Rescue Tangled-Up Bellringer
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