Photographs By John Murray
Waterbury Police Chief Michael Gugliotti unexpectedly found himself upside down as he attempted to rappell 350 feet down the side of a 31-story hotel at the Mohegan Sun. Gugliotti had agreed to participate in a fund raiser for Special Olympics and thought he would be rappelling down a waterfall inside the casino. Several days ago he realized he had signed up to rappell down the side of a high rise hotel and his anxiety started to spike. During the ride to the casino this morning Gugliotti said he had prepared himself by imagining he was responding to the cries of a baby in distress.
Working out his anxiety with some deep knee bends and some hard puffs on his electronic cigarette (he’s trying to quit smoking), Gugliotti was animated and full of one-liners and quips.
Peering over the abyss allowed Gugliotti to come face to face with his opponent – a nearly 350 foot drop down a rain slickened glass hotel.
Walking up the stairs felt like a walk up the gallows, but this time instead of being hung, Gugliotti got the unique opportunity to lean backwards into the unknown.
Seconds after Gugliotti overcame his fear of leaning backwards off a 31 story building an event photographer instructed him to stop, let go off the ropes, smile, and give a big thumbs up. Gugliotti obliged, and two seconds after this image was taken Gugliotti found himself dangling upside down 350 above ground.
The side of the hotel was mirrored glass and with today’s rain it was exceptionally slick. Several other participants found themselves upside down, slipping, or swaying in strong cross winds.
Gugliotti vowed he was not going to look down, but as he used a burst of gorilla strength to right himself from this perilous position, he said “I had no choice but to stare straight down. It was a long way to the ground.”
As he prepared to begin his descent Gugliotti wondered what the hell he was doing.
Once on the ground, exhausted, Gugliotti explained his 15 minute adventure to his aide, Sgt. Tim Kluntz.
Two hours after hanging upside down 350 feet above the Mohegan Sun, Chief Gugliotti attended a press conference in Waterbury City Hall and relived his adventure with Waterbury Fire Chief Dave Martin. Gugliotti rappelled down the side of the hotel to help raise money for the Special Olympics. He is still several hundred dollars short of reaching his goal and would appreciate some love for literally risking his life for the Special Olympics. If you are interested in helping Chief Gugliotti reach his goal click on the link below