1. Welcome to the latest edition of the Summary of Mishaps, in which we once again discover why the word “stunt” and the word “stupid” both start with the same three letters.
A. In a machinery repair shop on a carrier, a hull technician third class (being either supervised or just watched by an electrician’s mate second class) opened a 440-volt fuse panel, investigating the feasibility of adding a 220-volt circuit. According to the report, he “placed his hand in the panel in an attempt to trace wiring.”
Worked great! Plenty of available electricity. So much that some of it raced into his unprotected hand when he touched a conductor. Needless to say, neither Sailor had authorization to probe around in the panel, which makes the lack of PPE less surprising. It turned out the additional circuit wasn’t required to begin with.
Both members had attended electrical-safety training at the beginning of deployment and again a month earlier. You’d think one of them would have known better anyway.
B. In this week’s “Classic One-Liners” department, I present the following, about a sergeant in Illinois: he “lost control and wrecked his motorcycle due to wreckless riding.”
I knew if I read enough mishap reports I could find one spelled that way.
The mishap report was a little sketchy about what exactly he had been doing that caused him to run into a stationary object that was located on the side of the dry, straight, 35 mph road in broad daylight. The fact that he was riding with expired tags and wasn’t wearing enough protective gear offer some insight into his attitude, though.
C. One afternoon, a sergeant was teaching himself how to do what the mishap report described as "idle wheelies." These pointless pieces of idiocy are “step one of becoming a real stunter,” according to an instructional web site, after “you've been playing around with power wheelies,” and don’t even get me started on why anyone would think the verb “play” belongs in the same sentence as motorcycle. I’m jaded, since 525 Sailors and Marines died in motorcycle wrecks during the past decade.
When the front wheel of the sergeant’s sport bike slammed back to earth, he lost his balance, jerked backward and rolled the throttle. This action, the report said, “brought the wheel back off the ground,” which in turn ejected the sergeant. He was wearing all of the right PPE, so road rash wasn’t an issue, but he had enough forward momentum to damage the meniscus in his knee.
He created this mishap exactly 14 days after completing the Advanced Rider Course. Guess the instructor didn’t adequately cover wheelies.
D. In California, a government employee and a contractor were in a 27-foot Boston Whaler that was being hoisted out of the water. The report doesn’t specify what they had been doing in the boat. The civilian was an electrical engineer, so perhaps we can assume he was troubleshooting something more important than, say, why the fish finder didn’t work, because in that case a regular old electrician would have sufficed.
No matter what they had been doing in the boat, they quickly found themselves under it. The boat lift failed, and the boat splashed down inverted. After minimal glub-glubbing (they were wearing life jackets), they swam to the pier, wondering if they shouldn’t have climbed out of the boat before testing the lift. The civilian sprained his shoulder.
Among the possible causes of the failure of the boat lift was that the Boston Whaler weighed much more than anticipated due to what the report called “water penetration in hull” (personally, I would have used the preposition “through” instead of “in”). The Boston Whaler had come from DRMO with a damaged hull.
Let’s see, trying to connect the dots, give me a minute.
2. That’s all for this time, sports fans. Until we meet again, take care, take five, take a few deep breaths, and take another glance at those instructions.
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Read the author's blog, "Beyond the Friday Funnies." If you have a question about some of our odd terminology, become an insider by studying up on our Glossary. And if you have even more time to kill, here's the exhibit list from the Summary of Mishaps Museum.
Last Revision: March 7, 2014