OK, I should tell you guys the story of the long lost shipmate that just called me. Despite the unbelievable sounding story, I promise that every syllable of it is true.
I went to go have lunch at a place called the Round House in Pearl City, HI. The place was packed and they said "have a seat in the bar if you want, it will be a bit before you can get a table. So I walk in a have a seat. The TV was on and I'm watching what ever it was and having a cold beer while I wait. The next thing I know, they interrupt what ever it was with 'A breaking News' story. "Two sailors from the Thomas Jefferson are stuck 250' up on the cliff of the Pali Lookout" Rescue teams were on the way. "A third sailor fell off but is still alive." The guy that fell off was a cook we had and the guy that just called me out of the blue the other day.
What happened is they decided to climb the cliff, which is trespassing for I assume the reason they needed rescue for. They got about 250' up the face and it starts to rain. It becomes really hard to move at all then. They couldn't climb up and they couldn't climb back down. One of them slipped and fell about 15' and landed on a ledge. He broke several bones, the worst of which was his collar bone if I remember right.
At that point, they guy who ended up falling clean off, grabs a little bit of brush and leans out to see if the other guy is OK. The little plant comes off in his hand and he does a swn dive for 250' with the only thing saving him being a large tree at the bottom he went right down through. He did not break a single bone, but knocked about half of his teeth out and put this amazing looking dent right in the center of his forehead.
It had 'cracks' running out in all directions from the dent like a kids drawing of the sun. It pushed his skull in like he had been hit with the round end of a ball pein hammer.
So he's laying under this tree unconscious for a while and comes to. When he does, he yells up to the other two "It's alright, come on down!" I still laugh everytime I think of that. They tell him to go find help so he starts down towards the homes and nobody would let him in for the first several homes. He finally finds one that lets him in and calls for help. They tell him to lay down on the entry rug till the ambulance gets there and picks him up.
I used to just spin the guy right up after that by looking at him and saying "Hey Karpinski, your divot's filling in nicely."
He's the luckiest guy I know. Takes a 250' free fall without a parachute and does not break a bone. My buddy Fred who was a Sonar Tech on the same sub with me told me he had run into Karpinski about 10 years later and he still had the divot. His exact words were,"Oh that's permanent" I had asked if he still had the divot.
How it didn't kill him I have no idea.
After we had gone to sea and finished our next patrol Karpinski was served papers for small claims court by the lady that put him on the entry way rug. He wrecked it by bleeding on it. Insult to injury.