Antenna Raising Incident
(Author unknown. It is written as a ham's response to a query from his
"I'm writing in response to your request for additional information for
Block Number 3 of the Accident Reporting Form. I put 'poor planning' as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter 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 of my new 80' 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 lbs of tools and hardware. Rather than carry the now
un-needed tools and materials down by hand, I decided to lower the items
down in a small barrel 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 and materials into the barrel. I went back down to the
ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of
the 300 lbs of tools. You will note in Block Number 11 of the Accident
Reporting Form that I weigh only 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. Needless to say, I
proceeded at a rather rapid rate of speed up the side of the tower. In the
vicinity of the 40' 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.
Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold on to the rope in spite of the pain.
"At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of tools hit the ground and the bottom came 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 Block Number 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40' 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 onto the pile of tools, and fortunately only 3 vertabrae 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' above me, I again lost my presence of mind... I let go of the rope."