Ralph Poff, of Floyd, VA, fell from a construction lift yesterday while working on the roof of our neighbor's house on Silverleaf Lane. He reportedly fell about 15 feet to the ground and was rendered unconscious by the impact.
We first became aware of the accident when a medical helicopter started circling over our house and made preparations to land in a field near this neighboring house.
In a very short period of time there were four teams of emergency service personnel and a Carilion Life-Guard medical helicopter team working to resuscitate Ralph and prepare him for transport to the Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
It appeared to be a well coordinated effort involving a lot of people and several vehicles. Once Ralph was prepared for transport, he was loaded into an ambulance and driven to the helicopter which was waiting on the crest of a hill beyond the construction site.
He was unloaded from the ambulance and carried to the helicopter where he was loaded into the rear hatch which can be seen under the tail rotor. The helicopter took off a few minutes later and flew off toward Roanoke.
The accident had occurred about 1:30 pm and the medical personnel were working on him until about 2:30 when he was loaded into the Carilion Clinic Life-Guard emergency medical helicopter and carried off to the Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
The presence of the helicopter was a huge stroke of luck. It was returning from the site of a private plane crash in Roanoke when the call went out for the Carilion Clinic Ambulance to come to the construction site. The helicopter followed the ambulance from Roanoke to the construction site in Floyd and as a result probably saved an hour of transport time in getting Ralph to the hospital.
The speed of response by all concerned probably contributed to keeping the accident from becoming a fatality. We later learned that Ralph had broken his back in the fall.
We hope for his early recovery and are very thankful for the emergency medical personnel and volunteers who come to our rescue in Floyd.
[click on images to enlarge]