A contract worker who fell 20 to 30 feet inside a ventilation shaft at SUNY Old Westbury Thursday was seriously injured but conscious and talking as rescue workers freed him, authorities said.

The worker was taken by Nassau County police helicopter to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow after being removed from the shaft, part of the building's heating, cooling and ventilation system, by rescue personnel from the Westbury Fire Department and police's Emergency Services Unit, said spokesman Michael Kinane.

Rescue teams responded to the campus library, which is undergoing renovation, shortly after 10 a.m. after the incident was reported to police in a 911 call, police said.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

No details were immediately available on the nature of the accident or the man's injuries, according to Kinane and police.

A medical center spokeswoman said the man was admitted in serious but stable condition.