Looking for more information about Man falls from elevator shaft and "survives" in the 70's

greenspun.com : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

I'm looking for the article or more information about a man who falls from a high rise (many stories up -20-30) and survives. As he's falling he calls out to God.

It was on the front page of the SF. Chronicle in the 70's.

Please help. Thanks. Connie

-- Connie Yu (ivcon@netzero.net), September 19, 2002


I remember reading the story, however I was just a teenager at the time. It made the front page of the San Jose Mercury News too, which is where I read it. If memory serves me correctly, I think it was during the building of the Transamerica Pyramid that a worker fell from 20-30 stories through what was to be the elevator shaft. What made it even more amazing is that he was conscious when help arrived and was reportedly even humming as they loaded him into the ambulance. Amazing but true.

-- Michael S. Binetti (mbinetti@boldata.com), September 25, 2002.


I did find two sites that make mention of the incident, however, I think the first one definitely has the date wrong (1988?). The second site makes mention to it (scroll down to details, details, details) as I remember it, during the buildings construction which took place around 1970-71. It also says that the guy who fell was stoned on LSD at the time. That does ring a bell. This site describes how due to the air pressure in the confined space, it slowed his speed to a survivable velocity. I hope this helps.

C:\Documents and Settings\mike.CORPS\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\OLKBB\obituary.htm

C:\Documents and Settings\mike.CORPS\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\OLKBB\EBTX - New WTC Design The Dead Drop.htm

-- Michael S. Binetti (mbinetti@boldata.com), September 25, 2002.

Sorry about that! Lets try these two sites.



-- Michael S. Binetti (mbinetti@boldata.com), September 26, 2002.

I just came across a site that also refers to it. I found it by putting in the keyword “Camptown Races.” I vaguely remembered that the tune he was humming was Camptown Races as they were putting him into the ambulance. But because I wasn’t 100% certain and because it sounded so unbelievably weird, I doubted my own memory and thought it best to not share that little tidbit when I responded to your question. It’s amazing what the mind will sometimes remember. Here’s the site, but it’s a big page (scroll down about a quarter of the way). Below the site address, I have copied what it said to save time.


MAKING WHOOPEE Harold Brown rushed past a security guard at the 48- story Transamerica pyramid in San Francisco, calling out "I want to see the man at the top. I've been sent by God!" Followed by the guard, he sprinted to the 29th floor, spat at witnesses and jumped 300 feet down an airshaft. Shouting "whoopee!" all the way down, he landed on a concrete floor at an estimated 100mph, his t-shirt and jeans torn off during the fall. He lay unconscious for two minutes, then woke up and laughed. He had broken his thighs, knees and heels, but suffered no internal injuries. In the ambulance he was heard humming "Camptown Races".

-- Michael S. Binetti (mbinetti@boldata.com), September 26, 2002.

I actually met that guy several days before he pulled that stunt. I was a student at the San Francisco Art Institute. He wasn't, but he hung out there a lot, loitering near the rack room in the painting department, and playing a flute in the hallways outside the studios. I was walking past him one day, while he was feverishly playing his flute, when he abruptly stopped playing, peered at me over his flute and said, "I'm actually making this up out of my own head." "Yeh, no doubt," says I, and walked on. Several days later, what to I see on the front page of the Chronicle but a picture of the TransAm building with a dotted line showing his fall. Turns out it was that guy. I told the story, with the Camptown Races and all, to a science writer from Canada who I was dating (whenever she blew into town to cover a convention or somesuch), and she flat out refused to believe me. Next day she attended a seminar where a paper was delivered on that guy, because he'd made medical history surviving a fall like that.

So there are several sources you should be able to look up. It was the front page of the Chronicle, whatever date it was. And someone delivered a paper on it at a medical show. Good luck.

-- Chris Dichtel (cyberiad@earthlink.net), October 21, 2003.

Connie why do you want to know? The man is my brother

-- Zhivago (Panamongmen@msn.com), May 24, 2004.

Hi my name is Jim, and I was just wondering if there was anyone else out there with a story like mine. I seen your story and thought I would write. on February 20, 1986 I fell 17 stories down an elevator shaft in Santa Monica Ca. I use to build elevators for a living and wanted to know if there was anyone else that had ever survived such a thing?

-- jim christie (CELLDRJIM@AOL.COM), September 25, 2004.

Connie why do you want to know? The man is my brother

-- Zhivago (Panamongmen@msn.com), May 24, 2004.

Proving once again that Darwin was right.

-- King Good-God-Allmighty, Lord of San Francisco (camptown@races.com), October 31, 2004.

Maybe that guy could have been usefull in some way at the 9/11 World Trade Center when so many people jumped off hoping that they might survive. Maybe he could have got a cellphone call in telling people the exact way he had fallen in the elevator shaft and survived. At least they could have quickly put up some big air mattress like they have in Hollywood so people might have had a chance to survive. It was over 1,000 people that died above the 101st floor, 600 from the Canter Fitzgerald brokerage firm alone. A jump to an air mattress or even a net might have been their only chance for survival. Too bad no one acted on it and at least 1,000 people had to die.

And that reminds me, I was just told second hand about a San Franciscan who died in one of the flights whose death was never reported. How incredibly strange! I hope that I can verify that death sometime without bringing any more pain to the family. I wonder how many more people died in 911 whose deaths were never made official.

-- Harry Murphy (harrymurphy*@bigmailbox.net), October 31, 2004.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ