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bennelli-banger

closest call with death???

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RuffChaser
10 minutes ago, bennelli-banger said:

 

             Wow!!!!  That is amazing...thank God you made it.  Slim chance, but do you know a family with the name Clouser?  Lance Clouser was my RA freshman year of college in Faribanks, AK...he was from Eerie...probably 54 or 55 today.  Waiting for the next story...hope it isn't anything like the first....

 

Thanks. It's pretty crazy to think about it. I actually grew up outside of Erie. It's just the closest town someone would know. I don't know anyone named Clouser. He'd be about 6 years older than me.

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bennelli-banger

did your relationship with your father change after that experience???

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RuffChaser

Yes. We still had a few disagreements but have always spoke. Considering he didn't speak to some siblings of his for 30+ years I got lucky. He has Alzheimer's now and is getting quite bad. He's too stubborn to die so I'm hoping to makes it a while longer. Although at some point they just aren't the same and it's too hard to see them that way.

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Canuck

I have only told this story a couple of times. I try not to think of that day, but it still haunts me every now and then.

 

Back in the early 1980’s I was ptarmigan hunting along the Hudson Bay coast south of Rankin Inlet with my 6 year-old male GWP, Willie. It was late winter and Willie and I had covered a lot of ground, me on a snow machine and Willie gobbling up the ground like a caribou. We had found a few birds and were heading home on the sea ice. As we often did, I decided to head out to a couple of islands close to the mainland to see if we could find an arctic hare sunning on the 150 foot high cliffs on the south side of the islands. We had hunted here many times and in the summer it was a popular place to fish for arctic cod as the cliff face continued another 100 feet straight down to the bottom.

In the winter, the sea ice would form a land fast piece to the cliff and a sheet of ice that rose and fell with the tides, which were about 12 – 16 feet in that area. Between the land fast piece and the main ice sheet a large crack would form. The crack would open and close like a hinge as the ice lifted and fell. The crack was like a 15 foot deep crevasse. Snow would often form over the opening of the crack hiding it from view.

As I putted along the cliff face looking for “rabbits” I realized I had not seen my dog for a few minutes. I stopped my machine to look around and wait for Willie to show up. A few minutes pass and still no sign of him. I drove closer to the cliff face to look for him and see his tracks heading to a hole in the snow over the crack. I look down into the crack and there is Willie wedged in about 6-8 feet down. About three feet down there was a small ledge that I climbed down onto. I kneeled down and was able to get a hold of Willie’s collar and started to pull him up. As I got him loose his hind end slipped downward and he popped out of the collar and fell another few feet down the crack. I could not reach him and climbed out of the crack. I went over to my snowmobile and found a rope in my tool box. The piece of rope was only about 10 feet long. I backed my snowmachine up to the crack, tied the rope to the machine and tossed the end down into the crack, The rope was too short to reach the dog but I thought I could get close enough to reach and rescue Willie. So down I went into the crack. When I reached the end of the rope I reached down but Willie was still a bit out of reach. I saw a small foothold a little further down and let go of the rope so I could step down onto the ledge. I reached down with my left hand towards Willie and that is when I slipped and slid down about a foot. Not very far but now I was wedged in the crack with my left arm pinned to my side and my right arm reaching upwards toward the rope about 6 inches out of my stretched reach. I tried several times to somehow maneuver myself upwards. I slid another inch down. I was trapped. Willie and I were going to die when the crack closed. I started to panic. I yelled help a bunch of times. It was of no use I realized, as I was miles from town and no one was around. I broke into a sweat. Willie started to struggle and whine. I reached my right arm down to my mouth and pulled off my mitt with my teeth. I do not know how I did it but I dug my finger nails in the ice above my head and managed to pull myself up enough to just grab the rope between my pointer and index fingers. I twisted the rope around my fingers and was able to pull myself up enough to get my left arm unpinned. A few seconds later I was out. I started to shake like a leaf as the reality of what had happened and what I had done set in. Willie was still struggling and was starting to cry out in a weird, agonizing way.  I brought my gun to my shoulder and pulled the trigger.

I quickly drove home to get a friend and some gear to get Willie’s body out of the crack. I was back to the scene in about an hour and a half. The crack was closed and I was unable to recover my dog.

To this day I don’t care for tight spaces. I often wake up in the middle of the night, drenched in a cold sweat, struggling to get out of that horrible place.

Canuck

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popplecop

Had my first at 18 years old in the Army serving in Korea with a unit in the 1st Cav. called the DMZ Police, which was in reality a mobile Infantry Det.  Then came a couple more while serving with the MPs in Korea.  My career in LE brought on several more.  I remember one that didn't involve firearms was going through the ice on the Chippewa river while wearing snowshoes.  But I'm here and now finding old age is not for sissy's.

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frak

These stories read like Jack London.  Incredible.  Or maybe Louis L'Amour's "Yondering" tales.  

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Virgil Kane

Back in 71 I use to carry extra belts for the M-60 guy while on LRRP with our six man squad.  I would sometimes wear a M69 flak vest to distribute some of the weight and stop the sharp edges from digging into me, hotter than hell but it worked on short patrols.  I'll be darned that the M-60 belt and that M69 stopped an AK round from spoiling a perfectly nice day for me.  Something the M69 wasn't designed to do.

 

I've had other close calls but that one sticks in my mind.

 

 

Virgil

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bennelli-banger
18 minutes ago, Virgil Kane said:

Back in 71 I use to carry extra belts for the M-60 guy while on LRRP with our six man squad.  I would sometimes wear a M69 flak vest to distribute some of the weight and stop the sharp edges from digging into me, hotter than hell but it worked on short patrols.  I'll be darned that the M-60 belt and that M69 stopped an AK round from spoiling a perfectly nice day for me.  Something the M69 wasn't designed to do.

 

I've had other close calls but that one sticks in my mind.

 

 

Virgil

 youza!

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Tim Frazier
7 hours ago, RuffChaser said:

Where to start???? This gets graphic.

 

It was 1988. I was 2 years out of high school, 19 and stupid. A friend was 21 and said how about if I say I lost my license and you get a replacement with your photo. I said sure. A few weeks later he gave me his birth certificate and I went in to a local DMV office and got a new license. I used it a few times a week and only when I was with him. He held on to it actually most of the time. Between my time with him and my girlfriend we were drinking a lot. Deep down inside I knew I was partying too much and not sleeping enough. There would be nights I would drink most of the night and park in front of the gate at the lumberyard I worked at and pull the keys from the ignition and sleep in the back seat and wait for them to wake me up when they opened up the gate.

 

I was out with my buddy and we drank until closing time. He didn't take the fake ID from me that night. I drove hime from his house and decided it would be  good night to steal some pumpkins for my girlfriend (it was late October). There was a spot where most of us did this. On the way I fell asleep and veered off the road. I had a 1980 Mustang. Just a 6 cylinder. When I veered off the road I must have hit gravel and woke up in time to see a mailbox. I turned my head and don't remember a thing for a little while. Thankfully nobody was with me. Nobody saw the accident and I don't remember it so nobody knows what happened. A neighbor of the people that owned the mailbox i destroyed was a DJ and was unloading his equipment from a gig. He and his wife were unloading the equipment when they heard a large bang. They ran to each other assuming somebody dropped something. Just as they got to each other just outside the front door a car drove by and the headlights hit my car. They immediately realized the noise was from my accident.

 

They ran to me and asked if I was OK. I was under the car lying face down with the tie rod on the back of my head. I was pinned to the ground. They called the local fire department and they sent an ambulance, firetruck, etc. These were volunteers and most were guys I knew and a few I graduated high school with. They truied to explain the situation to me and apparently i told them repeatedly I was OK to drive iof they just got me back in the car. They tried to explain it was on top of me and when I finally realized it a freaked out. I drifted in and out of consciousness at this point. They had to use air bags to get the car of me. In the mean time they called for a airlift for me but the helicopter couldn't land right by the crash site so they would have to use an ambulance to drive me about  a mile down the road. An uncle lived near by and heard the chatter on the scanner. He drove down and as they got me out and removed my clothes to asses the damage they realized their were two IDs in my wallet. when they figured out it was me he called my Dad he drove directly to the hospital. 

 

The car had landed 80 feet from where I hit the driveway/culvert and where the car landed. They think I was thrown out the back and my body ripped the hatchback off when I was but nobody knows for sure. The front drivers side tire was sticking through the floor boards where the gas/brake pedals were. They got me to the chopper and on to the hospital. My heart stopped twice in the chopper and once in the ER. They got me back each time.  The only damage to my body was my face. There are three basic ways you can break your face. They are called Lefort fractures. I had all three. Most people that get all three don't live to get told that.

 

After feeling the cold air of the rotors blowing on me I don't remember a thing for a week. The next year would be hell. I have multiple facial reconstructions. The doctors in my hometown, Erie, PA, had never worked on someone as bad as me. After 9 hours they gave up and closed me up. I had 9 teeth knocked out and one of my eyes was badly out of position causing me to have constant double vision. I was sent to Pittsburgh several months later and had a series of reconstructive surgeries. The first surgery was only 4 hours to remove some metal so they could get a better x-ray. Then after CAT scans and other x-rays the team of doctors met with me and asked what I was looking for from the surgery. That's a little more than a 19 years old is equipped to handle. They explained that they would cut my scalp from ear to ear and peel my face off and try to re-fracture my face and repair it to it's original state.

 

My nest surgery was 21 hours total including pre and post up, 15 hours from cut to close. I felt like I got hit by an f'in freight train. I would have follow up surgeries on my eyes and face to correct my vision and to correct other complications for the next 15 years. I have had over 60 hours of surgery (that's just the time under general anesthesia) done to my face with the ear to ear scalp removal done three times. I have had 3 bone grafts from my head paced in other areas of my face and most of my sinuses obliterated. That basically means they remove the mucus membrane an fill it in so they are no longer functional.

 

Before my accident I hadn't spoken with my dad for 1.5 years and I lived in the same house as him. he is a stubborn swede and can hold a grudge. After the accident he stayed with me for two weeks and never left the hospital. He refused to leave so they let him shower in my room and my mom or siblings would bring him in meals. He is a real SOB but when you need him most he is there for you. As you can imagine I had a few legal and financial issues. I got lucky on both accounts. I got out of most of the trouble with the law by agreeing to go to my local high school to discuss the dangers of drinking and driving. They liked my interaction with the students so much they asked me to return again. I knew most of the kids and I hope I helped some of them make better choices.

 

The anniversary of my accident is October 29th. It's a horrible day. I think of my accident often but not daily like i did before therapy. It's hard to look in the mirror and not see the scars and the other damage done to my face and not think about it. I have a gnarly scar right between my eyes. It has been softened over the years via surgery but it's still there. I don't look like I used to. Some people from High School have no idea who I was at reunions. I stopped going to them. One girl asked me to show my driver's license she just couldn't believe how different I looked. Leading up to my anniversary I get sad. I get through it but prefer to be alone with Haze and do something to distract myself from thinking about it. My wife understand this and gives me the space I need.

 

I have no idea how I lived through that. The thought of why I lived, why that happened to me haunted me for many, many years to the point where professional help was needed. I have been asked lots of questions about what I saw when I was near death. I saw nothing. I have been told I have been blessed by God as he only gives us as much as we can handle. I have no idea who what played a role in my survival. As far as I'm concerned the fact is it happened and I lived. I personally think I was just really lucky and I have a very strong will to live. Also, I was meant to move to MN,to hunt grouse, find Haze, and meet my wife. Well, maybe the wife was just happenstance:D

 

Now that I have finished that I will get to my next great adventure with death a little later.

As a flight nurse I had many calls like this, the good and the bad is we never really knew how they turn out.   We would do what we could to get you where you need to be with the best chance of survival possible, then paperwork, restock,and back to the shop.  Every once in while someone would stop back in to say thank you, but to be honest we usually worked in less than ideal situations, often in the dark with blood and mud on everything.   I don't know that I ever recognized someone that came back in.  A few were unique enough I would remember the story but when every shift is several persons "worse day" it blurs.  I miss flying some days but in general I'm grateful there are younger folks to do it and that I had other options when burn out came along.  I can't tell you how thrilled I am to know you didn't just survive, you thrived!  Awesome!

 

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RuffChaser
6 hours ago, bennelli-banger said:

 

             Wow!!!!  That is amazing...thank God you made it.  Slim chance, but do you know a family with the name Clouser?  Lance Clouser was my RA freshman year of college in Faribanks, AK...he was from Eerie...probably 54 or 55 today.  Waiting for the next story...hope it isn't anything like the first....

 

One of the paramedics went home to his wife. She asked who it was, he said it was Tye. She asked how I was. his response was - "he's going to die." The paramedics all assumed I was a goner from the extent of my injuries, amount of blood loss, etc. After she got divorced from her husband she became neighbors with one of my brothers and his wife, kids, etc and told them about that night.  

 

A few weeks after my accident the ER doctor came into my room. He told me who he was and then proceeded to tell me I was the luckiest person in that hospital. He said the amount and type of trauma I went through should have either killed me or cause me to be blind, deaf, have brain damage, etc. I had some short term memory loss and for the most part it all came back. My brain was badly bruised. I still have trouble with double vision if i try to look all the way to the left without moving my head. I compensate for that by moving my head when I can. I have about 50% hearing loss because my Eustachian tube was crushed and won't drain properly so my ears get plugged easily and often. Tubes fix that but they still get plugged and I hate the procedure of getting them put in.

 

I don't hear grouse flush that well and don't have the best eyesight to stay on them but I do OK. I'd probably be better if I could hear/see better but I don't care abut limits. The dogs will point more birds than I can ever shoot. I get out and hunt because I can forget about everything in my life, like the accident, and just care about following a few dogs i trained myself and try to hit a bird or two when they flush and nothing makes me more content then that.

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bennelli-banger
5 minutes ago, RuffChaser said:

 

One of the paramedics went home to his wife. She asked who it was, he said it was Tye. She asked how I was. his response was - "he's going to die." The paramedics all assumed I was a goner from the extent of my injuries, amount of blood loss, etc. After she got divorced from her husband she became neighbors with one of my brothers and his wife, kids, etc. 

 

A few weeks after my accident the ER doctor came into my room. He told me who was and then proceeded to tell me I was the luckiest person in that hospital. He said the amount and type of trauma i went through should have either killed me or cause me to be blind, deaf, have brain damage, etc. I had some short term memory loss and for the most part it all came back. My brain was badly bruised. I still have trouble with double vision if i try to look all the way to the left without moving my head. I compensate for that by moving my head when I can. I have about 50% hearing loss because my Eustachian tube was crushed and won't drain properly so my ears get plugged easily and often. Tubes fix that but they still get plugged and I hate the procedure of getting them put in.

 

I don;t hear grouse flush that well and don't have the best eyesight to stay on them but I do OK. I'd probably be better if I could hear/see better but I don't care abut limits. The dogs will point more birds than I can ever shoot. I get out and hunt because I can forget about everything in my life, like the accident, and just care about following a few dogs i trained myself and try to hit a bird or two when they flush and nothing makes me more content then that.

 

             I get it...for sure...again, WOW!!!!  holy schneike's!

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RuffChaser
10 minutes ago, Tim Frazier said:

As a flight nurse I had many calls like this, the good and the bad is we never really knew how they turn out.   We would do what we could to get you where you need to be with the best chance of survival possible, then paperwork, restock,and back to the shop.  Every once in while someone would stop back in to say thank you, but to be honest we usually worked in less than ideal situations, often in the dark with blood and mud on everything.   I don't know that I ever recognized someone that came back in.  A few were unique enough I would remember the story but when every shift is several persons "worse day" it blurs.  I miss flying some days but in general I'm grateful there are younger folks to do it and that I had other options when burn out came along.  I can't tell you how thrilled I am to know you didn't just survive, you thrived!  Awesome!

 

 

Thanks. We PM'd about this a little a few years ago. I have a ton of respect for all that are EMTs.  I was invited back to ride on the helicopter a few years later but couldn't make it. I did have knee surgery after the accident. I was trying to get back into shape after I lost 35 lbs from having my jaw wired shut for 6 months. I had to get me knee MRId and the girls in Radiology asked if I had been in an accident a few years prior. I said yes and they told me they thought my name was familiar. I was their first CT Scan.

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Tim Frazier
7 hours ago, Canuck said:

I have only told this story a couple of times. I try not to think of that day, but it still haunts me every now and then.

 

Back in the early 1980’s I was ptarmigan hunting along the Hudson Bay coast south of Rankin Inlet with my 6 year-old male GWP, Willie. It was late winter and Willie and I had covered a lot of ground, me on a snow machine and Willie gobbling up the ground like a caribou. We had found a few birds and were heading home on the sea ice. As we often did, I decided to head out to a couple of islands close to the mainland to see if we could find an arctic hare sunning on the 150 foot high cliffs on the south side of the islands. We had hunted here many times and in the summer it was a popular place to fish for arctic cod as the cliff face continued another 100 feet straight down to the bottom.

In the winter, the sea ice would form a land fast piece to the cliff and a sheet of ice that rose and fell with the tides, which were about 12 – 16 feet in that area. Between the land fast piece and the main ice sheet a large crack would form. The crack would open and close like a hinge as the ice lifted and fell. The crack was like a 15 foot deep crevasse. Snow would often form over the opening of the crack hiding it from view.

As I putted along the cliff face looking for “rabbits” I realized I had not seen my dog for a few minutes. I stopped my machine to look around and wait for Willie to show up. A few minutes pass and still no sign of him. I drove closer to the cliff face to look for him and see his tracks heading to a hole in the snow over the crack. I look down into the crack and there is Willie wedged in about 6-8 feet down. About three feet down there was a small ledge that I climbed down onto. I kneeled down and was able to get a hold of Willie’s collar and started to pull him up. As I got him loose his hind end slipped downward and he popped out of the collar and fell another few feet down the crack. I could not reach him and climbed out of the crack. I went over to my snowmobile and found a rope in my tool box. The piece of rope was only about 10 feet long. I backed my snowmachine up to the crack, tied the rope to the machine and tossed the end down into the crack, The rope was too short to reach the dog but I thought I could get close enough to reach and rescue Willie. So down I went into the crack. When I reached the end of the rope I reached down but Willie was still a bit out of reach. I saw a small foothold a little further down and let go of the rope so I could step down onto the ledge. I reached down with my left hand towards Willie and that is when I slipped and slid own about a foot. Not very far but now I was wedged in the crack with my left arm pinned to my side and my right arm reaching upwards toward the rope about 6 inches out of my stretched reach. I tried several times to somehow maneuver myself upwards. I slid another inch down. I was trapped. Willie and I were going to die when the crack closed. I started to panic. I yelled help a bunch of times. It was of no use I realized, as I was miles from town and no one was around. I broke into a sweat. Willie started to struggle and whine. I reached my right arm down to my mouth and pulled off my mitt with my teeth. I do not know how I did it but I dug my finger nails in the ice above my head and managed to pull myself up enough to just grab the rope between my pointer and index fingers. I twisted the rope around my fingers and was able to pull myself up enough to get my left arm unpinned. A few seconds later I was out. I started to shake like a leaf as the reality of what had happened and what I had done set in. Willie was still struggling and was starting to cry out in a weird, agonizing way.  I brought my gun to my shoulder and pulled the trigger.

I quickly drove home to get a friend and some gear to get Willie’s body out of the crack. I was back to the scene in about a half an hour. The crack was closed and I was unable to recover my dog.

To this day I don’t care for tight spaces. I often wake up in the middle of the night, drenched in a cold sweat, struggling to get out of that horrible place.

Canuck

There is a movie somewhere in this story!  Wow!

 

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bobman

Canuck s story is heart wrenching 

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Ontdon

I can truly say "I am glad you  all survived." Thanks to everyone of you who served and to all the care givers. I have had several but probably the closest was when I tested the ice on my grandmas pond when I was about 4. I can still feel the water coming up over my head and that was 60 years ago. Somehow I was able to scramble out on my own and run to the house. They didn't know whether to cry for happy or spank my butt. They did that sometime back then.

Edited by Ontdon
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