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[TowerTalk] Tower Fall Survivor

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Tower Fall Survivor
From: (Jack W Hyder, Jr.)
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 05:58:29 EDT
Excerpt from Amateur Radio Newsline #1026:

                            TOWER FALL SURVIVOR
    If you ever need an example of beating the odds...this next story may
help.  Considering what happened the afternoon of March 26th, the fact
25-year-old Joseph Holley is alive is amazing.  Holley, who's a
professional tower climber, was involved in a freak accident in central
Alabama.  It's the kind of mishap that--under almost any other
circumstance--should have claimed his life.
    From Newsline's Southeast Bureau in Birmingham...David Black, KB4KCH,
brings us an astonishing story about a man who beat incredible odds:

    From his hospital bed, Joseph Holley thinks back to the afternoon he
was working 200 feet in the air on a cellular telephone tower south of
Birmingham. Holley had just made sure that he was strapped securely to
tower leg.
    "I checked my belt, checked my lanyard, made sure everything's
I released my hand from the tower, everything was fine.  I stuck both
into the pouches that hang off my workbelt to get to the hardware.  The
pouches are about a foot deep and as soon as my hands hit the bottom of
pouches, which was probably a full 10 seconds from the time I snapped
myself into place, the belt just let go.  It just absolutely let go and I
began to fall." (Holley)
    Joseph Holley's life might well have ended at this point.  But this
story does not end tragically.  Seconds after beginning to fall and
thinking he's about to die, Holley blacks out. But as it turns out, the
only tower leg that has any equipment attached to it below Holley is the
leg he had been working on. After falling nearly 80 feet, Holley strikes
6-foot mesh microwave dish in his ribs.  The dish catches his body and
keeps him from falling further.
    "I hit it and of course was unconscious as I was falling, as I hit
dish, it woke me up.  I hooked my leg over the dish and was very very
disoriented" (Holley)
    While hanging on to the dish, fear sets in as Holley realizes that
still about a hundred-20 feet up.  Having sustained severe internal
injuries, he loses consciousness again. Co-workers climb up to Holley and
secure him to the tower.  Half an hour later, rescue workers from
and Southeast Shelby county arrive.
    "They came up there and hooked the rope to me and pulled me down. 
was the first time they had ever done anything like this and had
no experience on a tower.  You could tell the persons on the tower were a
bit jumpy just being up that high.  We were still between 120 and 140
feet." (Holley)
    Despite his injuries, Holley is able to climb down with rescuers
helping him.  He's flown by Lifesaver helicopter to a Birmingham
Exactly why Holley fell remains under investigation.  He says he has
paid careful attention to the condition of his safety equipment.
Amazingly, Holley's doctors tell him that he may not have any permanent
injuries...and that after 2 weeks, he may get to go home.  It's all
Holley very thankful.
    "I'm really fortunate and I don't take anything for granted.  I'm
really lucky at the turnout of this thing." (Holley)
    For now, Joseph Holley continues his recovery while dealing with
something else--he's experiencing nightmares about falling.  Will he go
back to work climbing towers for a living?  That is something this very
lucky man says he wants to think about.

    Holley says he wonders if a manufacturer's defect in his safety gear
could be to blame for his near-death experience. Meanwhile, investigators
continue looking at that equipment to try and find out exactly why it
(Via Newsline)

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