Florida Keys

She climbed into a tree, and it swallowed her

A woman trapped in a banyan tree in Key West required rescue by firefighters. Police were also on the scene.
A woman trapped in a banyan tree in Key West required rescue by firefighters. Police were also on the scene.

A Key West woman found herself in some tree trouble over the weekend after she became wedged inside the roots of the sprawling banyan into which she climbed.

She needed professional help to get out of the tree.

“We laddered the tree and [were] able to pull her out of the hole she fell into,” according to the Fire Department’s rescue report by Capt. Michael Budde, who said it took seven minutes to free the woman.

“And she went about her day,” city spokeswoman Alyson Crean said.

Firefighters responded Sunday after a 1:17 p.m. call for help that described a homeless woman stuck in a banyan across from the Westin Resort, 245 Front St.

“It looked fun,” the woman said as an explanation, according to one witness who described her as at least 30 years old.

City officials wouldn’t name the woman, citing confidentiality of medical records.

The multi-trunk banyan, one of many in Key West that attract locals and tourists alike, was reportedly in fine condition as well.

“They’re very hardy and strong,” said Karen DeMaria, Key West’s urban forestry manager. “Their bark is a more slippery type and their sap is very milky.”

DeMaria said climbing trees doesn’t hurt them, but extracting someone who becomes trapped could possibly cause damage.

“Climbing around is not going to hurt a tree,” she said.

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