and lift carefully here!


Long time back, during my days at sea as an Engineer Officer, I got hit pretty badly by heat exhaustion one day. We were on board the S.S. Foyle, a P&O tanker at anchor in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela, and I had been detailed to work inside the boiler casing, which was still pretty hot. I myself can’t remember too much about what happened in the engine room, but the junior engineer who was on watch at the same time said I came stumbling out of the boiler room, bleeding from a nasty gash on my head where he presumed I had fallen and hit my skull.

I hazily came to on deck, while draped across a set of railings, with the Second Engineer pouring water all over me to try and get my temperature down. The Second Deck officer, who was detailed to be the source of all things medical on board ship, decided that I needed hospital treatment, and the shore launch was summoned to make the five-mile run across the Lake to Maracaibo City.

Because I literally could not walk, being semi-comatose,(some nasty persons might state that I have never recovered!!) my fellow engineers decided that, in order to transfer me to the launch from the high deck of the tanker I neede to be strapped into a Robertson Stretcher, which, as can be seen, is equivalent to being wrapped in cling-film. Four officers lifted me up,  the captain being by my left shoulder, and I began the long journey down the gangway from the ships deck to the waiting launch. Because the gangway was both at a steep slant, as well as being narrow, the four men carrying me had to hold the stretcher handles at an angle.

We were about quarter way down when the captain’s hand slipped, and he let go of the strap, and I was swinging, upside down, staring straight down into the waters of Lake Maracaibo, with my arms of course tied tightly inside the stretcher.

So I know exactly how she felt!

X-posted from A Tangled Web

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