Long Way Down
21 November 2011 | Beaufort, NC
Jenny / 65 degrees & mostly cloudy
When one thinks of someone falling off a boat, one might imagine the sound of the splash when that person enters the water. But, what about when someone falls from a boat that's sitting high and dry in a boatyard? Yesterday, that's exactly what happened.
Wil was working on deck when he heard a THUD that didn't sound normal. He turned around to look towards the sound, and there was a man lying on the ground. I was inside our main salon when I heard Wil calling out to someone in a voice that told me something serious had just happened. We immediately ran to his aid.
Upon our arrival, the man was attempting to dial his phone, but that was a difficult task. It was quite obvious that one of his arms was severely broken (involving puncture wounds that appeared to have come from the inside of his arm, as well as what appeared to be a bone splinter trying to poke through his skin), along with other possible injuries.
While Wil called 911, I sat with the man, asking him a bunch of questions about his fall (i.e. what part of his body hit the ground first, where was he hurting, how were his back and neck, could he wiggle his toes, making sure he was breathing ok, or was he nauseous or dizzy). Once Wil was done with 911, I assisted in dialing his girlfriend for him.
So what had happened? This 57 year old guy was finishing up work on his power boat for the day. (I'm guessing it's about a 40+ foot boat, and since the boat is sitting on blocks, the decks are about 10 feet above the ground . . . plus the height of his own body.) He was in his socks as he walked forward on the very narrow portside deck. We're not sure if he slipped or took a misstep, but down he went. He said he landed on his arms / elbows first, and then his head. He's a very lucky man to have landed the way he did. His situation could have been so much worse.
Paramedics eventually arrived and got him secured for transport. We heard later that he ended up being airlifted to Pitt County. We're hoping that it was only for the compound arm fracture, and not for anything else more serious. He will be in our thoughts, and we hope to hear of a quick recovery.
Yesterday's event remains fresh in our minds. Wil has asked himself what would he have done if it had been him. And, we've both been thinking about how many times the kids run around on deck. Our decks are at a minimum of 12 feet above the ground. A ground that is a very hard, compact gravel. All of us halfway pay attention to the idea of falling off, but I think we'll all take it a little more seriously from now on.
It wasn't too long ago that Colin suffered minor injuries while "zip lining" at his friend's boat. They had created a homemade zip line, and proceeded to jump from the boat to ride the line down to the ground. Apparently, the tension wasn't tight enough, and the drop was more direct to the ground than expected. We didn't know about it until Colin came hobbling back to our boat. Just one of the many learning experiences of living in a boatyard!
So words of advice to all whose boats are sitting in a boatyard . . . please watch your step.