Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Trapped fisherman cuts off own fingers with pocket knife

Here is the (AP) article on the Grays Harbor fisherman.
SEATTLE (AP) - With his hand wedged between his boat and a log, and his future son-in-law off getting help, William Messenger decided he was out of time. He pulled out a pocket knife and sawed off two of his fingertips to free himself from the sinking vessel.Minutes later, his son-in-law arrived with help, a pry bar and other tools to separate the boat from the log. Messenger was rushed from the Wynoochee River in southwestern Washington to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where a hospital spokeswoman said he was in satisfactory condition Monday. She did not know if surgeons had been able to reattach the fingertips.

Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Rick Scott said Messenger, a 51-year-old fisherman from Ocean Shores, might have made a different decision if he had known how quickly his future son-in-law, Jarrad Todd, would arrive."Hindsight is 20-20. If he'd have known help was not that far away, he might have held off taking the steps that he did," Scott said."It's one thing to think about doing that, but it's another to actually execute the plan."Messenger and Todd, 29, were fishing on the Wynoochee on Sunday afternoon when rapids swept their 16-foot drift boat into a log jam. The side of the boat slammed against a log, pinning Messenger's left index and middle fingers. The pressure of the water held the boat in place.The boat was turned upstream at a 45-degree angle and began to fill with water. Todd escaped and went to a nearby home in Aberdeen for help, Scott said.
This is a perfect example of why it is so important to have communication methods when you are out on the water. Most small boaters do not carry any kind of radio and cell phones are often times out of range in remote areas such as this part of Gray's Harbor. A VHF radio can be purchased for a pretty reasonable price- I would reccomend it strongly. The Coast Guard could have responded to that call very quickly and saved the man's fingers.

I usually don't care to cover small boating news, but this is only the second time I have heard of a man cutting off a body part to save himself-- the other example was a trapped rock climber.


Anonymous said...

Holy Crap! I just saw this. That really sucks. sucks to be him-- I would hate to know that I didn't need to cut off my fingers.

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