A Sad Story

I am writing in response to your request for additional information for block #3 of the accident reporting form.  I put ‘poor planning’ as the cause for my accident.  Your letter said I should explain more fully, and I trust the following will be sufficient.

I am an amateur radio operator and on the day of the accident I was working alone at the top of my 80 foot tower.  When I had completed my work I discovered I had, over the course of several trips to the top of the tower, brought up about 300 pounds of tools and hardware.  Rather than carry the now un-needed tools and materials down by hand, I decided to lower the items down from the top of the tower in a small barrel by using a pulley which was fortunately attached to the top of the tower.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went to the top of the tower and loaded the tools and the materials into the barrel.  I went back down to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow decent of the 300 pounds.  You will note in block #11 of the accident reporting form that I weigh only 155 pounds

Surprised at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, 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 on my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.

Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold onto the rope in spite of the pain.  At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of tools hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel.  Devoid of the weight, the barrel was approximately 20 pounds.  I refer you again to my weight in block #11.  As you can imagine,  I began a rapid decent down the tower.  In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I met the barrel on its way up. This accounts for the fractured ankles and the lacerations on my legs and lower body.

The encounter slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of tools and fortunately only 3 vertebrae were cracked. I’m sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the tools, in pain, unable to stand, and watching the empty barrel 80 feet above me, I again lost my presence of mind.  I let go of the rope.

This was passed on to my by Earl Weidman.  Original author is unknown.

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