A worker on the new 2000-foot TV tower under construction east of the small town of Bent Creek was injured today. The construction crew was hoisting the main television antenna to the top of the tower when a sudden gust of wind caused the $200,000 antenna to sway and crush the worker against the tower. The worker was knocked unconscious and left hanging by his safety harness 2000 feet off the ground while the 11,000 lb antenna continued to sway. Fire rescue crews were unable to use the tower's elevator (a 6-ft triangular platform hoist) to reach the injured man because the tower's electrical power was knocked out by falling debris from the antenna.
Chief Ranger Bill Jefferson along with Ranger Gray Wolf of Big Pine National Forest near Knotty Pine were called in to rescue the injured tower worker. The two rangers flew by forest service "yellow banana" helicopter directly from Knotty Pine to the Bent Creek tower site. After several hours of climbing, Ranger Bill and Gray Wolf were able to reach the injured man. The rangers gave the man emergency first aid immediately to make him more comfortable for his return to the ground. The rangers with the assistance of other tower workers also trapped on top of the tower placed the injured man in a protective carrier. The rangers and tower workers then slowly lowered the injured man down through the tower. Power was restored to the tower and elevator at this time. The elevator was able to meet the rangers and their charge about half way up the tower. The three men were able to ride the elevator the final 100 feet to the ground. The forest service chopper life flighted the injured man to Central City Hospital. The worker is reported in fair condition and is expected to make a full recovery. The name of the injured man was not released to the press.