[TowerTalk] Darwin Award

Dennis ae4ei@powernet.org
Fri, 24 Mar 2000 07:11:59 -0600

I put poor planning as the cause for my accident. I am an amateur radio
operator, and was working on the top section of my new 80 foot tower. When
I had completed my work, I discovered that I had brought up about 300
pounds of tools and spare hardware. Rather than carry the materials down by
hand, I decided to lower the items using a pulley. Securing the rope at
ground level, I went to the top of the tower and loaded the tools into a
small barrel. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding
it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the 300 pounds of tools. You will
note in Block 11 of the accident report that I weigh 155 pounds. Due to my
surprise of being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of
mind and forgot to let go of the rope. I proceeded at a rather rapid rate
of speed up the side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I
met the barrel coming down. This explains my fractured skull and broken
collarbone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping
until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.
I regained my presence of mind, and was able to hold onto the rope in spite
of my pain. At the same time, however, the barrel of tools hit the ground
and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the tools,
the barrel now weighed approximately 20 pounds. I refer you again to my
weight in Block 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the
side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I met the barrel
coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, and the lacerations
on my legs and lower body. The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough
to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of tools, so only three
vertebra were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay on the
tools, in pain, unable to stand and watch the empty barrel 80 feet above
me, I again lost my presence of mind, and let go of the rope...

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