Marisa Lazo

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Marisa Lazo
Born 1994 (age 29–30)
Nationality Canada - United States
Other names Crane girl
Known for Requiring a dramatic rescue

Marisa Lazo is a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, living in Toronto, Canada, who attracted public scrutiny, after scaling a high-rise construction crane, and requiring a dramatic rescue, on April 26, 2017.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Early life

CTV News reported Lazo's Linkedin account indicates she was an Architectural Technology student at George Brown College, who grew up in Port Colborne, Ontario.[4]

During her January 2018 sentencing hearing the court was informed that Lazo's two siblings both had sever disabilities, and that she would be solely responsible for their care.[8]

Friends told reporters Lazo was a thrillseeker, who engaged in "rooftopping"—the practice of covertly trespassing, and climbing abandoned buildings, buildings under construction, or building with dangerous observation points, that aren't open to the public—and then taking trophy photos, in order to claim bragging rights.

Lazo faced mental health court, and several charges, after her rescue, from the hook of a construction crane.[1][2][9][10][11] Early on the morning of April 26, 2017, Lazo free-climbed a construction crane, scaled the boom, and then shinnied down the cable, to the crane's hook.[12] Officials were not able to explain what Lazo had planned, once she reached the hook. But, after reaching the hook, she then called out to passers-by, on the street, requesting rescue.

Both the Toronto Police Services and Toronto Fire Services responded.[1][2] A Police hostage negotiator responded, and scaled the construction tower, in order to communicate with Lazo. Acting fire captain Rob Wonfor scaled the tower himself, made his way to the end of the crane, where he was lowered, in a harness, to the hook where Lazo was perched. Once he arrived Lazo cooperated, while he strapped her to his harness. The pair was then slowly lowered to the ground.

Upon reaching the ground Lazo was handcuffed, before she was escorted to hospital.[1][2] Acting captain Wonfor remained on the scene, but his superiors informed reporters he required warming of his core body temperature.

Initially, the plan was that he would secure Lazo to the hook, while the crane operator lowered Lazo to the ground.[1][2] The crane operator informed officials that, in his opinion, this plan wasn't safe. He informed officials there was a serious danger Lazo's clothes would be drawn into the hook's pulleys, either crushing her, or throwing her off the hook.[13] So, the plan was changed, so Lazo was strapped to the rescue harness, and rescuers lowered both Lazo and her rescuer.

On Thursday, April 27, 2017, legal observers described the six charges Lazo faced as excessive, since six convictions would not result in a stiffer sentence. Lazo was released on $500 bail.[14] Bail conditions including surrendering her US passport, and being restricted from entering any construction site.[15]

Spokespersons for The Plaza Group, the company building the high-rise, described a domino effect, where they had to pay approximately 80 workers, who could not work that day, because the site had to be fully inspected, in case Lazo had vandalized equipment, or damaged equipment by accident, making work unsafe.[16] They estimated that her stunt cost them approximately $60,000 CAD.

CTV News reported they found Lazo's Linkedin account, and it indicates she is an Architectural Technology student at George Brown College, who grew up in Port Colborne, Ontario.[4]

Lazo's expeditions

Reporters learned more about Lazo's expeditions from friends who attended her mental health hearing, on the day after her rescue. Sara Burton, described Lazo as an "adventurous girl". Friends offered reporters Lazo's instragram handle, and before it was closed down, they downloaded, and republished, multiple photos that showed her posing on the edges of rooftops, or on railway trestles.[17] Lazo's friends assured reporters that she did not have mental health issues.[18]

The builders revealed that her entry to the building site, and the beginning of her climb, were captured on their security cameras, and had been shared with police.[16] Those videos showed her spending a few minutes casing the site, at 2:30 am, before she scaled the fence, and began her climb. Captain Wonfor, her fire department rescuer, said he was impressed with her climbing ability, as he found climbing the crane challenging, and she made the climb without benefit of any climbing equipment.

CBC News reported, on May 8, 2017, that Lazo faced six charges of mischief, was released after posting a bond, on condition she avoid construction sites, and rooftops.[19]


File:When thrill-seekers climbed this crane, on 2017-5-8, they were said to be emulating 'crane girl', Marisa Lazo - Edited.jpg
When thrill-seekers climbed this crane, on 2017-5-8, they were said to be emulating 'crane girl', Marisa Lazo.

On April 26, 2017, the day of Lazo's excursion, Kate Robertson, of Now magazine noted the large number of tweets and other social media that discussed Lazo's excursion.[20] She told her readers many were gross and vulgar, but she warned us that those who sent pictures or retweeted pictures, of Lazo before her rescue, risked helping inflict trauma, as Lazo might have fallen to her death.

On May 1, 2017, Heather Mallick wrote a column on the importance of taxation, that used Lazo's rescue as a focal point.[21] She noted that, even though Toronto had never needed anyone to perform the kind of aerial rescue required to retrieve Lazo, it had teams of emergency personnel who had trained, and ready to perform that challenging feat. She also noted the indestructability Lazo seemed to have in common with other 23-year-olds.

On May 4, 2017, the Globe and Mail published an op-ed by Frank Farley, a psychologist and L.H.Carnell Professor at Temple University, which used Lazo as an example of what he called a Type T personality.[22] Farley went on to describe individuals whose thrill-seeking had a negative effect on society, and those whose thrill-seeking had a positive effect. In his final paragraph Farley wrote:

"Creative crane-climbing is undoubtedly pushing the limits of risk. I don’t condone it, but I do wish that many of those who have a major capacity for risk might find ways to channel these unique qualities in socially important T positive directions – that is, helping society understand and creatively confront the other side of the T equation, the T negative horrors before us, as in terror, crime and violence."[22]

There were three other attempts by thrill-seekers to climb other Toronto area cranes, in May, leaving authorities to speculate they were inspired by Lazo's example.[23][24][25][26]

Guilty plea, apology, and absolute discharge

Lazo faced six mischief charges, and was released on bail, days after her arrest.[27] When she appeared in court again, on January 10, 2018, she pled guilty, and read an apology that the Toronto Star called "lengthy and tearful".[8] She said "climbing the crane was a terrible idea, a terrible mistake." Four of her mischief charges were dropped. She was given a absolute discharge after her conviction for the two remaining charges. Lazo has to pay a "victim surcharge" within the next six months.

Lazo told the court that she was coping poorly with mental health problems, prior to the excursion.[8] She said she had been coping through alcohol, and that the excursion followed a night of drinking, when she was feeling lonely. She said her decision to trespass on the construction site, and climb the crane, was impulsive, and that she thought climbing the crane would make her feel more alive.

Lazo said that she hadn't intended to slide down to the crane's hook, attributing it to a misstep.[8]

Lazo acknowledged seeking counseling, and had been volunteering to give back tothe community, in the time since her release on bail.[8]

In an agreed statement of fact Lazo acknowledged selfie photos she took during the climb were found on her cell phone.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Ellen Brait, Peter Goffin (2017-04-27). "Crane climber, described as an ‘adventurous girl,’ released on bail". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2017-04-28. Retrieved 2017-04-27. "Lazo, whose stranding atop the sky-high crane and dramatic rescue from it, transfixed onlookers for hours on Wednesday morning, was released on $500 bail Thursday. She faces six charges of mischief." 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Sam Pazzano (2017-04-27). "Woman on crane adventure seeker: Pal". Toronto: Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on 2017-04-30. Retrieved 2017-04-27. "Marisa Lazo, 23, captured the world’s attention as she was rescued by a Toronto firefighter after spending hours stranded on a crane at a construction site in the Wellesley-Church Sts. area on Wednesday." 
  3. "Woman crane climber named by police as Marisa Lazo, 23". South Bayview News. 2017-04-26. Archived from the original on 2017-05-01. Retrieved 2017-04-27. "On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, shortly after 3 a.m., police responded to 50 Wellesley Street East for a person allegedly climbing a crane in a construction site." 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Jeff Lagerquist (2017-04-26). "Who is Toronto's now-infamous 'Crane Girl'?". Toronto: CTV News. Archived from the original on 2017-04-28. Retrieved 2017-04-28. "Marisa Lazo, who has since been dubbed ‘Crane Girl,’ is believed to have slid down a cable to the crane’s pulley device, where she became stranded. Firefighters are currently saying there was no indication why she scaled the crane in the middle of the night." 
  5. Jessica Caparini (2017-04-26). "Woman stuck on Toronto crane rescued after tense mission for firefighters". Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2017-04-30. Retrieved 2017-04-28. "She had been perched on a gently swaying, thin and short pulley device for at least five hours and was clinging to a steel cable when Acting Fire Captain Rob Wonfor reached her. Police have not released motivation for making the climb." 
  6. Rosie DiManno (2017-04-29). "Thrill-seeking in the age of social media: DiManno". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2017-04-29. Retrieved 2017-04-30. "There was no audience when she went up, except for the monitoring security cameras which captured her approach and ascent-start, its images flagged about 4 a.m. to Scott McLellan, senior vice-president of Plaza Corp., developer of the downtown Wellesley St. condo project that apparently lured Lazo’s adrenalin-pumping interest." 
  7. Codi Wilson (2017-04-26). "Woman, 22, rescued from crane at downtown construction site facing 6 mischief charges". CTV News. Retrieved 2017-06-09. "He added that he still does not know how the female got up to the top of the crane, which is approximately 12 storeys tall." 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 "Toronto crane climber pleads guilty: ‘I thought it would make me feel more alive’". Toronto Star. 2018-01-10. Retrieved 2018-01-10. "While Lazo’s crane climb captured international attention, her guilty plea escaped the media glare after her lawyer vacated a scheduled Jan. 10 court date in the Ontario Court of Justice." 
  9. Codi Wilson, Amara McLaughlin (2017-04-26). "Woman, 22, rescued from crane at downtown construction site faces 6 mischief charges". CP24. Archived from the original on 2017-05-01. Retrieved 2017-04-27. "Marisa Lazo is charged with six counts of mischief by interfering with property, Toronto Police Det. Barry Radford told reporters. These charges were laid for endangering the lives of two officers and for impacting work at the construction site, he added." 
  10. "Toronto can't get enough of crane girl". BlogTO. 2017-04-28. Retrieved 2017-06-09. "Some, including Global News, have speculated that this was a rooftopping attempt gone awry. Rooftoppers, of course, scale skyscrapers and cranes in order to take spectacular shots of the city." 
  11. Ellen Brait, Peter Goffin (2017-04-28). "Crane climber described as an ‘adventurous girl’". Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved 2017-06-09. "But Crown Attorney Catherine Finley told the Star that, based on what the court saw at the hearing, there are no issues with Lazo's mental fitness." 
  12. "'She just likes to climb things': Woman who scaled Toronto crane to appear in court". Metro News. 2017-04-26. Archived from the original on 2015-05-01. Retrieved 2017-04-27. "In a dramatic early-morning scene that played out in front of a fascinated crowd of onlookers both within the city and, online, around the world, Wonfor brought the woman to the ground just before 8:30 a.m., after a 2 ½ hour rescue operation just east of the Wellesley subway station, near Church St." 
  13. Andrew Fifield (2017-04-26). "Woman rescued after hours perched on crane hook in downtown Toronto". Metro News. Archived from the original on 2017-05-01. Retrieved 2017-04-27. "Once secured, the pair then lowered themselves from the hook after it was decided that it would be too dangerous to move the crane." 
  14. "'An adventurous girl': Toronto crane climber released on bail". Metro News. 2017-04-27. Archived from the original on 2017-05-01. Retrieved 2017-04-27. "Marisa Lazo, 23, was ordered released on a $500 deposit, but may not enter any construction sites or go on any rooftops as a condition of her bail. Lazo, who is a U.S. citizen, was also ordered to surrender her American passport." 
  15. Nicole Thompson (2017-04-27). "Woman rescued from crane in Toronto 'adventure seeking,' friend says". Yahoo News. Archived from the original on 2017-04-28. Retrieved 2017-04-27. "Lazo was granted bail for $500 with several conditions, including staying away from construction sites and rooftops. The dual Canadian-American citizen also had to surrender her U.S. passport and attend 'suitable counselling.'" 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Jake Edmiston (2017-04-27). "‘Woman-on-a-crane’ suspect faces six mischief charges for endangering lives, halting construction in Toronto". Toronto: National Post. Archived from the original on 2017-04-30. Retrieved 2017-04-27. "McLellan, of Plaza Corp., said the construction site was shut down for the entire day — costing the project an estimated $50,000 to $60,000. Roughly 80 people reported for work on Wednesday, and all had to be paid even though the site was shuttered so safety inspectors could determine whether the crane was damaged. (It was not.) Deliveries had to be sent back, he said, and trade work had to be rescheduled." 
  17. Codi Wilson, Chris Fox (2017-04-27). "Woman charged after scaling crane is 'adventure-seeking person,' friend says". CP24. Archived from the original on 2017-04-28. Retrieved 2017-04-27. "Friends have since confirmed that a series of photos posted to Instagram do show Lazo on the roofs of several downtown buildings and, in one case, lying across train tracks." 
  18. "Crane climber appears in Toronto court, gets bail". CBC News. 2017-04-27. Archived from the original on 2017-04-30. Retrieved 2017-04-28. "An Instagram account belonging to Lazo featured several photos of the 23-year-old standing or dangling her feet on the ledge of Toronto buildings." 
  19. "3 spotted on crane near Riverdale Park, no injuries reported". CBC News. 2017-05-08. Archived from the original on 2017-06-02. "The woman, Marisa Lazo, was charged with six counts of mischief. After appearing in court, she was granted release on $500 bail on the condition she not enter construction sites or go on any rooftops." 
  20. Kate Robertson (2017-04-26). "If you see someone stuck on the top of a crane, think twice about tweeting a photo of them: If she hadn't been rescued, the endless sea of closeups of the woman who climbed a crane early this morning could have caused immeasurable harm". Now magazine Toronto. Retrieved 2017-06-10. "While the above tweets are gross and ignorant – there's a good chance this person didn't just climb to the top of a crane for a laugh – it could have been even worse had this ended differently." 
  21. Heather Mallick (2017-05-01). "Why I love taxes — and so should you: Mallick". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2017-05-04. Retrieved 2017-05-02. "I salute both of them, Wonfor, the affable athlete, the quintessential good Canadian heading off after the rescue to tend goal in a recreational hockey league, and risk-hound Marisa Lazo who, like all 23-year-olds, thinks she will never die. Long may she think this." 
  22. 22.0 22.1 Frank Farley (2017-05-04). "Could the Toronto crane-climber use thrill-seeking as a tool for social good?". Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2017-05-07. Retrieved 2017-05-02. "Why do people climb very high, on dangerous cranes, violating the law, alone and in the dark of the night? Perhaps they have a Type T, or thrill-seeking, risk-taking personality? Such an adventure would certainly be a thrill, and definitely a risk. Marisa Lazo, 23, was rescued April 26 from a stint – or should that be stunt? – on a very tall construction crane in Toronto, in a rescue operation requiring several hours that taxed the skills and risk-taking capacities of her trained rescuers." 
  23. "3 spotted on crane near Riverdale Park, no injuries reported: Toronto Police received hazard call on Sunday afternoon, site now secured". CBC News. 2017-06-08. Retrieved 2017-06-09. "Latest crane incident follows April crane climber -- on April 26, a 23-year-old woman was found dangling on a crane, requiring emergency services to spend 2½ hours rescuing her during a meticulous operation." 
  24. Chris Herhalt (2017-05-27). "Police called to 3 crane climbing incidents in York Region". CP24. Retrieved 2017-06-09. "Last month, 23-year-old Marisa Lazo allegedly scaled a construction crane near Yonge and Wellesley streets. A police officer and a firefighter were forced to climb up to retrieve her." 
  25. "约克区连发三宗攀爬吊车事件 肇事者被控罪 [The Yorkshire was arrested for three consecutive climbers]" (in Chinese). 2017-05-29. Archived from the original on 2017-06-02. "当时的情景确实令人心惊肉跳:Lazo好像是先爬到吊塔顶部,然后顺着吊钩的钢缆下滑至一个类似滑轮的装置上。她被人发现时就坐在这个装置上,抱着一根钢缆。" 
  26. "跟風!約克區接連發生3起起重機攀爬事件 [Follow suit! There were three consecutive cranes in the York area]" (in Chinese). Singtao (Canada). 2017-05-28. Archived from the original on 2017-06-02. "上月,23歲女子Marisa Lazo在Yonge 交 Wellesley streets附近爬上了一架起重機。一名警官和一名消防員不得不爬上去解救她。" 
  27. "Woman rescued from Toronto construction crane gets absolute discharge: Marisa Lazo, 23, pleaded guilty to 2 mischief counts". CBC News. 2018-01-10. Retrieved 2018-01-10. "Lazo pleaded guilty to two mischief counts and has been given six months to pay a victim surcharge. A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General says the remaining charges were withdrawn."