THE ACCIDENT

This ham is sitting at his desk answering a letter from his insurance company...

I am writing in response to your request for additional information for block 3 of the accident reporting form. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully, and I trust that the following details will be sufficient.

I am an Amateur Radio Operator and on the day of the accident I was working alone on the top section of my new 80 foot tower. When I had completed my work, I discovered that I had over the course of several trips up the tower, brought up about 300 pounds of tools and spare hardware. Rather than carry the now unneeded tools and materials down by hand, I decided to lower the items down in a small barrel by using a pulley which was attached to the gin pole at the top of the tower.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went to the top of the tower and loaded the tools and material into the barrel. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 300 pounds of tools, (you will note that in block 11 of the report form that I weigh about 155 pounds.)

Due to my surprise 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 up the side of the tower at a rather rapid rate. In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I met the barrel coming down. This explains my fractured skull and broken collerbone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my ascent up the side of the tower, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.

Luckily, by this time I had 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 only about 20 pounds. (I refer you again to my weight in block 11.) As you can 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. Well, this accounts for the two fractured ankles and the lacerations of 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, and I was fortunate to have only 3 vertebrae cracked. I am sorry to report however, that as I lay there on the tools, in pain, unable to stand and not observing the barrel 80 feet above me, I again lost my presence of mind-- I let go of the rope.

Original author unknown