Thursday 20 February 2014

The Tales We Keep Telling, 5: Life Saved By Not Wearing a Helmet

This isn't really a Tale We Keep Telling, as it's only been told once, and not by me. However, I'm going to nick it, because it's awesome. I freely admit it may not be as good as the original, and I may have skipped a few details, but I believe the gist is intact...

I was sitting in the pub one night, when, somewhere around the second round, a friend piped up with "I know someone whose life was saved by not wearing a helmet".

"How did that happen?"

It turned out that the helmetless survivor liked abseiling cliffs as a hobby. The tale started in traditional fashion: "You should always wear a helmet, but he was in a rush..." The helmetless abseiler and some of his buddies had gone for a Saturday trip out to the cliffs, abseiled down, and started up, when my friend's acquaintance noticed that there was a problem with a rope.

He went down with only one rope to hold him (there are supposed to be two). You can guess what happened next: the rope failed to hold him, and he slipped, cracked his head hard on a rock, and plummeted downward to the rocks beneath under the gaze of his horrified friends.

"They were expecting him to start bleeding or something, but he just lay there on the rocks. It turned out, he was completely floppy as a result of being knocked out, so he hit the rocks very relaxed, and survived."

"That must have been quite a relief."

"Well, then he starting floating out to sea..."

The friends then discovered that they had no mobile reception, and sprinted inland to call the Coastguard (mental note to self: I'm going to add "Check mobile phone reception" to my dive safety plans from now on). Fortunately, they got there in time, the lifeboat got there on time, and the now thoroughly-soaked, concussed and bruised abseiler was retrieved from the water and carted off to hospital. He survived.

"And just think, if he hadn't had a helmet on, he might never have survived," my friend concluded.

It is a mark of the awesomeness of this story that people waited a whole five seconds before asking: "Wouldn't it have been better to have two ropes AND a helmet?"

We agreed it probably would. Still, I think this guy qualifies for an honorary Darwin award, and those are the best sort of Darwin awards to have.

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