Friday, October 8, 2010

No Man is an Island

No man is an island, but some are peninsulas.  I faced death yesterday, and I didn't like it.  I was working in a grain bin when a vertical aeration tube, damaged and full of wheat, collapsed.  This 10 foot, 600 pound column of steel fell and struck me.  First in the head, knocking me down, then trapping me by pinning my leg.  Meanwhile, the auger is running and the wheat, the aeration tube, and I are slowly but surely creeping towards an 8 inch auger running about 600 rpm.  Dazed and injured, I realized that my foot was only a short distance from the auger, and getting closer all the time.  I thought about the guy who, a few years ago, got his hand trapped by a boulder and had to cut off his own hand to escape.  That would not help me--the auger would do that work for me, except I would still be pinned down while I bled to death.  So there I was, trapped, in peril, alone in the approaching darkness.  Long story short, I made it out intact.  Sorry if you were expecting a better ending.
Update!  It seems that there is some dissatisfaction with how I ended this, so here is the expanded conclusion:  I had a pair of visegrip pliers with me, and was able to detach the top 4 foot section of aeration tube, which was attached with screws.  I then wedged this piece between the auger and my body, so that as the auger pulled the wheat, the tube, and me towards it, this wedged section pushed the auger away.  And without the top section attached, I was able to reach into the wheat filled sections and scoop out just enough wheat so that I could escape it's weight.