1. Welcome to the latest edition of the Summary of Mishaps, where the only routine is that nothing is routine.
A. One late night (0130, to be precise), an E-3 aviation machinist’s mate was strolling through the good old hangar bay. He had his cranial in one hand, the report explained, and “was looking down while walking.” I hope he wasn’t wondering whether he needed to be wearing his cranial or not, because if he was, he ironically got the answer when he rammed his head onto a lowered outboard flap on an aircraft. This painful wake-up call produced a 1.5-inch gash, a trip to the hospital and some counseling on workspace hazards, in that order.
The cool thing about cranials is that they work even when you aren’t working. Or even paying attention.
B. An E-3 aviation structural mechanic and a couple of friends hiked to what the mishap report described as “a well-known local waterfall with the intent to BASE jump into a pool of water at base of waterfall.” As you probably know, BASE jumping is an extremely high-risk activity in which you leap from fixed objects, deploying (originally) a parachute to break your fall. The acronym “BASE" stands for Buildings, Antennas, Spans (bridges), and Earth (cliffs). The E-3 was theoretically checking that last block, except the ensuing report doesn’t mention a parachute, so I guess she was just jumping off, aiming for the pool below.
Before we leave the topic of BASE jumping, you might be interested to know that the first recorded instance of the activity, according to Wikipedia, was in 1912, when a tailor named Franz Reichelt jumped from the first deck of the Eiffel Tower to (unsuccessfully) test an invention he called the “coat parachute.” “It was his first ever attempt with the parachute,” Wikipedia adds, “and he had told the authorities in advance he would test it first with a dummy.” (Note to self: Fight urge to write “but he did use a dummy,” mustn’t make fun of the deceased).
Tidbit #2 is that in November 1975, the first person to parachute off the Canadian National Tower in Toronto was a member of the construction crew named Bill Eustace. He lived. Didn’t have a job afterward, but he was around to look for another one.
Back to the E-3. Her friends, which the report now refers to as “divers,” explained to her the right way to hit the water. During her jump, the report says, “she became nervous.” And in a painful example of a self-fulfilling prophesy, she got flustered and hit the water out of position. “Impact with the water at high velocity resulted in deep contusions in multiple areas on both legs,” the report said. One week of LIMPDU ensued.
C. In this week’s “Not Exactly an Unexpected Hazard” department, we have an E-2 in North Carolina who was “participating in a game of slip-n-slide.” He slipped, bruised his hip, spent a week deciding it wasn’t healing, and finally went to medical. They found serious bruising and a swollen muscle. He limped around for twice as long as the E-3 in para B.
2. That’s all for this time, sports fans. Next week we help kick off our summer safety campaign with some examples from last summer that were memorable for the participants, but not in a good way.
May 2013 #2: What That Yellow Flag Meant
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Last Reviewed: May 10, 2013