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Accident report:

A ham radio operator 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 on the accident reporting form. I put 'poor planning' as the cause of the accident. 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 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 lbs. of tools and spare hardware.

Rather than carry the materials down by hand, I decided to lower the items using a pulley which fortunately 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 into a small barrel. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding tightly to ensure a slow descent of the 300 lbs. of tools.

Picture of Bob with a "so what" look on his face.

You will note in section 11 of the accident report that I weigh 155 lbs. 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. 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 collar bone. 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 on to 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 lbs. I refer you again to my weight in section 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 on to the pile of tools, so only three vertebrae were cracked. However, I am sorry to report 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 ...