A Message About Incident, Accident Prevention

Right Person, Right Place

Have you ever wondered if you would know what to do if you found yourself right in the middle of a life-threatening accident scene? Gary Myers, the captain of a 54-foot charter fishing boat, was one of the three boaters who knew what to do and just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Here’s the story. Gary was deep sea fishing in the Gulf stream about 40 miles off the North Carolina coast when he first noticed the Navy F-14 Tomcat. “It looked like the pilot was diving and doing a barrel roll and I just started watching,” Meyers said. “Then it looked like the plane went into a flat spin and about that time I saw two men eject.”

The aviators, members of Fighter Squadron 102, based at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, Virginia, were practicing dogfight maneuvers as part of a routine training mission.

The $30 million fighter plane was still in one piece when Myers saw it hit the water about three miles from his boat. The small boat operators reacted quickly. The commercial fisherman and the pleasure boat operator were the first to reach the two Navy fliers and pulled them out of the water almost immediately. The two fliers were transferred to Myers’ larger boat so they could be airlifted to a Navy hospital by helicopter.

Later the pilot said the fishermen were a welcome sight. If the three small boats had not been in the right place, or if Myers, the fisherman or the pleasure boat operator had failed to take swift action, the two Navy men might well have been lost in the Atlantic.

Safety on land, at sea and in the air requires every individual to take responsibility for his or her own safety and the safety of others. If we know how to work safely, follow the rules and look out for each other, we can make our work place an injury free environment.

The Navy pilot and his crewman were rescued because they followed their own safety procedures and others were close by who knew what to do. Take your safety training, work rules and your personal protective equipment seriously. You can stay incident-free if you follow standard practices and use your safety know-how every day.

The best way to avoid the pain and suffering of an injury is to remember that safety depends on you. Only you can do your job the safe way. Follow all safe work procedures that apply to your job. Observe all safety rules. Keep alert to avoid hazards at work, at home and on the road.

STAY INCIDENT-FREE

It’s Your Responsibility

*Copyright 2005 Harkins Safety B197

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