The fateful Shot!
The sequence below is not for the squeamish . I thought it important to post, however, as it serves to point out just how potentially dangerous these machines can be - don't try this at home kids !
Here we are cranking the arm down. Everything seems to be going along "swimingly".
The arm is down, and the pumpkin is loaded in the sling. I'm holding onto a rope which is connected to a rod inserted into a release mechanism. When the rope is pulled, the rod levers back and pulls open the release. This mechanism has been working fine for several years, but with recent upgrades to the Onager it's become more difficult to pull and release the Onager than usual. You can notice that the rod is bent here.
Warning - Photos below may not be suitable for viewing by other catapultiers!
In this photo, taken at a critical moment, I have pulled the release rod, and released the arm, but unknown to me, the rod came completely out of the release mechanism and it's headed right towards me.
This is a close-up of the photo above. The red arrow points to the release rod which smacked me in the jaw, and pierced my neck. The force of the impact knocked me down. When I felt the area it hit around my jaw and neck, my hand was covered with blood.
Andy, ever the instinctual newspaper man, brought his camera along to the hospital. Here I am, waiting in the ER for Ben Casey to sew me up. I am truly lucky to be alive today! Needless to say, I have scraped that release mechanism, and already have a new one, a Sea Catch toggle release - industrial grade, tested, and very safe - this accident ain't gonna happen again! The Team has also done a thorough safety inspection of the Onager, as well as reviewed all our operating, hauling, and packing procedures to ensure we have no other "glitches".
Enough of all this work and bloodshed! I was a little sore the next day (if you look closely you will notice a bandage on the right side of my neck), but by Sunday I was ready for some fun and relaxation in sunny Florida. Thanks again Waddy and the gang for all your help and hospitality.
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