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Los Angeles Zoo worker falls into gorilla enclosure

A Los Angeles Zoo employee was rescued after falling into the gorilla enclosure on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016.
A Los Angeles Zoo employee was rescued after falling into the gorilla enclosure on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016.
NBC4

A maintenance worker at the Los Angeles Zoo has been taken to the hospital with a possible broken leg after losing his footing on a planter and falling into the gorilla enclosure Thursday morning, according to zoo and fire officials.

The Los Angeles Fire Department got the call about the incident at 7:35 a.m., LAFD spokesperson Margaret Stewart told KPCC. The 61-year-old fallen worker dropped about 20 feet into a moat area. The length of the drop put him in the range of "trauma" criteria, Stewart said.

Members of the LAFD urban search and rescue team then extracted the worker from the area using a rope-and-ladder combination system called a ladder slide. Stewart said the area was a lower section almost separate from the main ground, not a "moat in the traditional sense we think of, which is a water channel encircling a castle."

According to a statement from the zoo, the four gorillas that reside in that part of the habitat were still secure in their night quarters behind the scenes, leaving the area clear for rescue workers to operate.

This story has been updated.