By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
An employee of a company performing maintenance on a local cell phone tower escaped serious injury when a guy wire snapped and yanked him about 40 feet into the air shortly after 1 p.m. last Friday, December 6.
The unidentified worker, an employee of Douglasville, Ga.-based Bennett Communications, dangled upside-down from the tower, located about 100 yards off Jack Springs Road, near its junction with Sunset Drive, for several minutes before being lowered to the ground by two of his co-workers.
An ambulance, two Atmore Fire Department engines and three Atmore Police Department vehicles were dispatched to the site, but the co-workers had already gotten the victim down by the time emergency personnel arrived.
Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks said the reports local first responders received was that the man had fallen from the tower and was dangling in the air.
“He was actually on the ground, and wire shot up and wrapped around his leg,” Brooks said from the scene. “He was pulled about 40 feet in air, and the other workers got him down. Lucky for him, he was pulled up at an angle and didn’t hit the tower on the way up.”
A man who witnessed the frightening occurrence said there was an obvious reason the dangling communications worker was already down when professional help got to the scene.
“I had just gotten back from lunch and was sitting in my truck,” said the man, who asked that this name not be published. “When he went up, I called 911. I stayed on the line for a while before they finally asked me what state and city I was calling from. They kept asking questions, so I finally texted them a picture to show what was happening. It was a scary situation.”
He said the frightened worker was “hanging upside-down, screaming his head off.”
The witness added that a second incident almost evolved from the first.
“There was a guy on top of the tower, and he started down,” he said. “There was another one coming up from the bottom. When the one on top cut the cable that was in the way, the one on the bottom almost fell.”
The shaken but not seriously injured worker refused an ambulance ride to Atmore Community Hospital, and one of his co-workers reportedly drove him to the local hospital for further examination of the leg that was caught in the cable.
As emergency crews left the site, Atmore Fire Department Capt. Jeremy Blackmon speculated that the victim probably had gotten a dose of religion by the time he was brought safely back to the ground.
“If he didn’t already believe in God, he does now,” Blackmon said.