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bennelli-banger

closest call with death???

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bennelli-banger

                 I was returning from a backpacking trip in the summer of '85; had been in the Sawtooth's in Idaho, and, the Wind River's in Wyoming.  In the process of driving straight through WY, SD, and MN back to my (then) home in the Twin Cities, with a battle happening in my head:  coffee & copenhagen were  pitted against very heavy fatigue, and a cassette tape of a live Dylan and The Band concert were stirring it all around ("before the flood"...great album!!!!);  about 3 or 4 am, heading E on MN Hwy 23 just outside of Windom, Mn, I decide to pass an 18 wheeler who was muddling along around 55 mph...it was a bit foggy, I pull out and "gun" my '81 chevy pickup...don't recall what it had for an engine, but it was a v8 of some sort...manual tranny...didn't have a lot of zip.  As I got about halfway up the trailer, I can see oncoming headlights;  I chose to attempt to complete the pass on this 2 way highway, giving my truck as much hell as it could muster.  The oncoming vehicle was also a truck...when we passed each other, it couldn't have been more than a few inches from my side mirror...the gust of wind blew my truck a few inches in the opposite direction, waking my cousin, who was asleep.  I was now back in the proper lane, and the semi that I originally was passing was behind me, but not by much.  He must have taken evasive action when he saw what was unfolding, though he had little time or options for said evasive action.  I never really fessed up to my cousin, but that episode spooked me for a long, long time.  Dumb 19 year old!!!!!  Never really have had another close call while driving, but that one was plenty close.  Never have had any other brushes with death that I know about, though some friends of mine insist our lives were at risk returning from Isle Royale to Grand Portage (about a 20 mile run on Lake Superior)...took about 5 hours...big waves, no set pattern, much of the time they were colliding with each other.  Our captain knew what he was doing, so I wasn't too worried...my buddies with little experience on the big lake were freakin out.  That trip commenced the morning after Cal Ripken Jr. broke the consecutive games streak...early September of whatever year that was...that was a very cool sight to see...what an ovation he deservedly received!

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Brad Eden

The time I told a Field Bred English Cocker aficionado that they were just small Springers.

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Dick Sellers

I've had my share of possible fatal accidents while working in Alaska.  I did a lot of aerial game surveys/telemetry flights in a very remote part of the state - the Alaska Peninsula. Twice the carter airplane I was in had the engine quit - talk about quiet. One was coming back from a winter moose survey.  Fortunately we were flying pretty high on firly flat countryside when the engine quit.  Luckily the was a frozen lake within gliding range and we make a safe landing.  Another time I was in a helicopter to get visuals  on brwon bear sows to see if they had cubs and pick up a few shed radio collars.  I had stashed additional fuel at a remote cabin used by our Commercial Fisheries Div. to monitor the salmon escapement into spawning streams.  I went into the cabin to talk to the fisheries guys and confirm that we would be back to spent the night.  Meanwhile the pilot was refueling the helicopter.  So I come out of the cabin and the pilot fires up the helicopter as I climb in.  So we take off headed for the mountain range to continue checking on the radiocollared bears.  Just as we're climbing to get into the mountains, the helicopter goes totally quite - engine quit.  Turns out the young pilot (not the guy I usually flew with) hadn't check the fuel, which had gotten some water in it some how.  Fortunately there was a relatively flat spot right under us and he was able to auto-rotate the helicopter down and make a save landing.  If that had happened 5 minuets later we would have been in the mountains and a safe engine-off land probably wouldn't have been possible.  So those were 2 near misses that I was able to walk away from.

 

The one I didn't walk away from happened on the coast of Katmai National Park.  I was doing a study to assess the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on the coastal brown bear population.  I had about 50 bears radio-collared and made flights 2-3 times a week to check on their status.  If their radio-collars stopped moving for a period of 6 hours, the pulse rate changed, in which case it was very critical to get to the collar/bear to see if it was dead and if so do a necropsy/collect tissue samples for evidence of oil or weather the bear had somehow slipped its collar (or in the case of sub-adult bears the collar had a "breakaway" feature to prevent neck injury as the bear grew).  So on a rainy Aug day I was dropped off by the helicopter near the top of a mountain to make my way down the the step slope to get to the collar that was in the creek bottom.  The plan was for the helicopter to re-position to the bottom of the mountain to pick me up after I had found the dead bear or dropped collar.  Well, I didn't make it to the bottom.  It was raining and very steep/slippery and I fell, tumbling about 60' down into the ravine.  Apparently I bounced a few times (I have no recollection of the fall - "sympathetic amnesia" I'm told) and landed in the creek.  I had regained consciousness in time to hear the helicopter shut down at the bottom of the mountain, but I was in no shape to make my way down there. I fished out my .44 mag and fired off 3 shots (universal distress signal).  So he cranked up the helicopter and got a look at me and my predicament; and then flew off.  This was in Mid Aug, but it was raining and the temp was in the 50s, and I could feel hypothermia setting in. I managed to get myself out of the creek, but I ached all over, was shivering like crazy, and was coughing up blood.  No way I was getting off that mountain on my own.  So I laid there for what turned out to be 5 hours while the pilot flew back to town (King Salmon).  I should mention this was not my regular pilot, but just one that happen to be working the commercial salmon season and was available on short notice.  So instead of just gaining a lot of altitude and radioing across Shelikoff Straights to the Coast Guard Station on Kodiak Island, he had flown all the way back across the AK Peninsula to King Salmon to try to round up some help.  So the local sheriff asked him why the hell hadn't he just radioed the coast guard on Kodiak (about a 45 minute flight), which they eventually did.  About 5 hours after the fall, I saw the Coast Guard helicopter appear, but the were on the opposite side of the big bay from where I was laying.  I was able to get to my daypack and fish out an emergency flare, and fire it off.  That brought the helicopter and a rescue "swimmer" over and a lift back to the hospital in Kodiak.   I was a hurting "puppy" - concussion, fractured cheek bones, 3 broken teeth, multiple facial cuts, compressed vertebrae, torn rotator cuff , stretched cartilage in my sternum, and no radio collar to show for my trouble.  To tell the truth, I think I'm luck to be alive much less still able hunt and fish.  Eventually my assistant was able to recover the shed radio-collar -- by hiking up from the bottom. 

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bennelli-banger
49 minutes ago, Dick Sellers said:

I've had my share of possible fatal accidents while working in Alaska.  I did a lot of aerial game surveys/telemetry flights in a very remote part of the state - the Alaska Peninsula. Twice the carter airplane I was in had the engine quit - talk about quiet. One was coming back from a winter moose survey.  Fortunately we were flying pretty high on firly flat countryside when the engine quit.  Luckily the was a frozen lake within gliding range and we make a safe landing.  Another time I was in a helicopter to get visuals  on brwon bear sows to see if they had cubs and pick up a few shed radio collars.  I had stashed additional fuel at a remote cabin used by our Commercial Fisheries Div. to monitor the salmon escapement into spawning streams.  I went into the cabin to talk to the fisheries guys and confirm that we would be back to spent the night.  Meanwhile the pilot was refueling the helicopter.  So I come out of the cabin and the pilot fires up the helicopter as I climb in.  So we take off headed for the mountain range to continue checking on the radiocollared bears.  Just as we're climbing to get into the mountains, the helicopter goes totally quite - engine quit.  Turns out the young pilot (not the guy I usually flew with) hadn't check the fuel, which had gotten some water in it some how.  Fortunately there was a relatively flat spot right under us and he was able to auto-rotate the helicopter down and make a save landing.  If that had happened 5 minuets later we would have been in the mountains and a safe engine-off land probably wouldn't have been possible.  So those were 2 near misses that I was able to walk away from.

 

The one I didn't walk away from happened on the coast of Katmai National Park.  I was doing a study to assess the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on the coastal brown bear population.  I had about 50 bears radio-collared and made flights 2-3 times a week to check on their status.  If their radio-collars stopped moving for a period of 6 hours, the pulse rate changed, in which case it was very critical to get to the collar/bear to see if it was dead and if so do a necropsy/collect tissue samples for evidence of oil or weather the bear had somehow slipped its collar (or in the case of sub-adult bears the collar had a "breakaway" feature to prevent neck injury as the bear grew).  So on a rainy Aug day I was dropped off by the helicopter near the top of a mountain to make my way down the the step slope to get to the collar that was in the creek bottom.  The plan was for the helicopter to re-position to the bottom of the mountain to pick me up after I had found the dead bear or dropped collar.  Well, I didn't make it to the bottom.  It was raining and very steep/slippery and I fell, tumbling about 60' down into the ravine.  Apparently I bounced a few times (I have no recollection of the fall - "sympathetic amnesia" I'm told) and landed in the creek.  I had regained consciousness in time to hear the helicopter shut down at the bottom of the mountain, but I was in no shape to make my way down there. I fished out my .44 mag and fired off 3 shots (universal distress signal).  So he cranked up the helicopter and got a look at me and my predicament; and then flew off.  This was in Mid Aug, but it was raining and the temp was in the 50s, and I could feel hypothermia setting in. I managed to get myself out of the creek, but I ached all over, was shivering like crazy, and was coughing up blood.  No way I was getting off that mountain on my own.  So I laid there for what turned out to be 5 hours while the pilot flew back to town (King Salmon).  I should mention this was not my regular pilot, but just one that happen to be working the commercial salmon season and was available on short notice.  So instead of just gaining a lot of altitude and radioing across Shelikoff Straights to the Coast Guard Station on Kodiak Island, he had flown all the way back across the AK Peninsula to King Salmon to try to round up some help.  So the local sheriff asked him why the hell hadn't he just radioed the coast guard on Kodiak (about a 45 minute flight), which they eventually did.  About 5 hours after the fall, I saw the Coast Guard helicopter appear, but the were on the opposite side of the big bay from where I was laying.  I was able to get to my daypack and fish out an emergency flare, and fire it off.  That brought the helicopter and a rescue "swimmer" over and a lift back to the hospital in Kodiak.   I was a hurting "puppy" - concussion, fractured cheek bones, 3 broken teeth, multiple facial cuts, compressed vertebrae, torn rotator cuff , stretched cartilage in my sternum, and no radio collar to show for my trouble.  To tell the truth, I think I'm luck to be alive much less still able hunt and fish.  Eventually my assistant was able to recover the shed radio-collar -- by hiking up from the bottom. 

 

          Holy Balls, Billy!!!!  I am the suburban "sugar tit" that I have always feared!  Wow.....wow.  Dick, do you know who Dick Proenekke (sp?) was?  Lake Clark?  Lake Iliamna?  I forget...built a log home in that country in the '50's or '60's....very cool documentary on PBS about the man.  I am sure an equally cool documentary could be made about you!  Youza!!!!  ever know a wildlife biologist name jeff bromaghin (sp?) from Alaska-Fairbanks??

 

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bobman

Drunk , really really drunk, me in the middle back seat and the other four people in car just as drunk as I was.

 

Head on collision, everybody in both cars dead, not a scratch on me.

 

 

My dad put seat belts in our early 60s car before GM did, drilled it into our heads to always buckle up from the time we were kids. I guess it was such a habit I did it without thinking. I didn't even know we were in an accident the next morning.

 

Twelve years later my little brother coming home from work, hit head on and killed, he would never wear a seat belt. Life isn't fair.

 

Seat belts have saved my life with certainty four times.

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bennelli-banger
5 minutes ago, bobman said:

Drunk , really really drunk, me in the middle back seat and the other four people in car just as drunk as I was.

 

Head on collision, everybody in both cars dead, not a scratch on me.

 

 

My dad put seat belts in our early 60s car before GM did, drilled it into our heads to always buckle up from the time we were kids. I guess it was such a habit I did it without thinking. I didn't even know we were in an accident the next morning.

 

Twelve years later my little brother coming home from work, hit head on and killed, he would never wear a seat belt. Life isn't fair.

 

Seat belts have saved my life with certainty four times.

 

             so very sorry about this...thank god for seat belts.

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bobman

Oh and many times on my Harley's I had near death close calls so many in fact that they are not even notable in my memory...I just schrugged them off back then.

 

I still have Harley fever every spring and watch motorcycle crash videos on youtube to bring myself back to my senses.

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Iver

Hard to say how near death I have been.. cause I am still here but there are definitely some head shakers when I look back.

One of the most nervous time happened when I was windsurfing in Lake Ontario, a little sinker board and a 4.2M sail, out at the 1/2 mile mark in November and the wind shut down. The waves were 4-5 foot from trough to top.  Water temp was just around 35.  I swam it in over a couple of hours as it was getting dark. Pretty pleased when I got there.

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Dick Sellers

Wow, Bobman, you sure dodged death on the hyways. Sometimes you wonder who's looking out for you. 

 

Bennelli, yep everybody that spends any time in the area knows about Dick Pennokee (sp?) who built a cabin on Lake Clark and lived the real pioneer lifestyle.  I'm not familar with the second fellow you mentioned.

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Jack L

When I was 16 my older brother and I drove nonstop from eastern Iowa to Utah to choose and bring home his new Chessie pup.  My brother drove till he got tired, somewhere in Kansas or Colorado, about midnight and said it was my turn to drive.  I had been awake the whole time talking to him, but what do I know. I start driving and at some point I'm aware the car is jumping all over the place.  I open my eyes from a deep sleep to see we're bouncing down the grassy median between the lanes on the interstate heading towards a canyon.  I pull us up onto the highway in time to avoid the canyon and my brother stirs a bit and says "what's up?"  Umm nothing, go back to sleep.  I did stay awake the rest of my shift.   

 

After my dad passed a couple weeks into my freshman year of college I came home every weekend. The Univ. of Iowa was a couple of hours from my hometown. One morning I slept in and was running late for my first class and was trying to book it on highway 218, then a 2 lane road with curbs.  It was raining really hard and I came up behind a semi.  I decided I needed to pass it. As I pulled out to pass it I was blinded because of the spray coming off the semi and pulled back in. Immediately a car passed me.  If I had stayed out to pass it would have been a head on collision. I was late for class.  

 

Nothing bad happened either of these times, but I was very lucky.

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406dn

Likely my closet call came while coming off a mountain after elk hunting. I thought my speed was perfectly safe but when I came to a steep straight stretch with a sharp left turn at the end, I realized I was wrong. The logging road was hard packed snow/ice and when I tapped the brakes,,, there was zero effect.

 

I frantically pumped the brakes as I slid toward a very steep embankment of a 100 feet or more. Nothing was slowing the K5 Blazer as the turn rapidly approached. The last ten feet of so before the drop off were untracked snow. My front tires grabbed and I spun the steering wheel as fast to left as I could. This shot me toward a tree and I turned the wheel hard to the right. I came out of it going straight down the middle of the road, as the slope eased substantially. That left me shook for quite a while.

 

Since then, I have come off every mountain with extreme caution.  

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bobman

Jacks story reminded me I have another one

I was doing a plant startup in South Carolina about 25 years ago and was up about thirty hours straight and foolishly tried to drive home. Fell asleep and wound up going across the median on I-20 and woke up in the east bound lanes going west.

 

That was the last time I ever drove tired, that scared the living "stuff" out of me.  If I get tired now I pull over and take a nap.

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Jack L

BB's story reminded me of the time we took a boat from Galway to the smallest of the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.  Everyone was laughing when we were in the lee of the mainland, but once we broke into the Atlantic things changed.  The waves picked up and started crashing over the boat. The people on the lower deck were standing in knee deep water.  It was real quiet the 10 miles or so out to the island.  We were never in danger, but you sure experienced what the Atlantic was capable of.

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406dn

Now, I remember another. A group of us had been duck hunting. I had a 65 Chevy SS Impala with a 396 engine. I liked to make good time.

 

We knocked off hunting and had stopped to buy snacks for the ride home. It was coming dusk when we got on the freeway. Since I was snacking, I was driving less than the speed limit in the right lane. An oncoming pair of headlights seemed slightly off in perspective. Then it hit us the car was going the wrong way down the freeway.

 

Most any other time,,, I drove 80mph or more and more or less stayed in the left lane. 

 

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bennelli-banger
21 minutes ago, 406dn said:

Likely my closet call came while coming off a mountain after elk hunting. I thought my speed was perfectly safe but when I came to a steep straight stretch with a sharp left turn at the end, I realized I was wrong. The logging road was hard packed snow/ice and when I tapped the brakes,,, there was zero effect.

 

I frantically pumped the brakes as I slid toward a very steep embankment of a 100 feet or more. Nothing was slowing the K5 Blazer as the turn rapidly approached. The last ten feet of so before the drop off were untracked snow. My front tires grabbed and I spun the steering wheel as fast to left as I could. This shot me toward a tree and I turned the wheel hard to the right. I came out of it going straight down the middle of the road, as the slope eased substantially. That left me shook for quite a while.

 

Since then, I have come off every mountain with extreme caution.  

 

         I frequently have "stress dreams" and THEY ARE EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU!!!  glad you made it...holy $hit!!!!

       

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