This is a copy of a letter that was written to insurance company who wanted complete explanation by an injured man to explain the many injuries (he had a fractured skull, severe lacerations on his hands, legs had been broken) and all he had written for an explanation as to how he had had the accident was "I lost my presence of mind". This is how he answered…
"I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident I was working alone on the roof of a 6-storey building. When I completed my work I discovered I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand I decided to lower them in a barrel using a pulley, which fortunately was attached to the side of the building where I was working at the 6th floor level.
Securing the rope at the ground level I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went back to the ground floor and untied the rope holding it tightly to ensure the slow descent of 500 pounds of bricks. You will notice on the report that I way 175 pounds.
Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, as I told you, I lost my presence of mind. I forget to let go of the rope. Needless to say at a rather rapid rate I proceeded up the side of the building. Somewhere near the 3rd floor I met the barrel coming down. This explains the fractured skull and the broken collarbone …
Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep in the pulley. This explains the lacerations on my hand. Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was tightly holding onto the rope in spite of my mind. However at approximately the same time the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Having lost the weight of 500 pounds of bricks the barrel now only weighed 50 pounds. I refer again to the report that I weigh 175 pounds. As you might imagine I rapidly began to descend down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the 3rd floor I met the barrel as it was coming up. This accounts for the 2 fractured ankles and lacerations on my legs and lower body and broken leg.
But the encounter with the barrel didn’t slow me down enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks. Fortunately only 3 vertebrae were crushed. I’m sorry to report however that as I lay there on the bricks in pain, unable to stand and watching the empty barrel 6 storeys above me, I again lost my presence of mind and let go of the rope."