August 13, 2004

Drunk Goes Flying

From the Darwin Awards comes this gem from Kotzebue, Alaska.

About 2 years ago I was working for the Kotzebue Police department in Kotzebue Alaska, which is about 30 miles north of the arctic circle. In Kotzebue the only access to Anchorage and the outside world is the Alaska Airlines 737 service. The main runway ends at the shore line to the Chuckchi sea, but there is a road running between the end of the runway and the beach. When a plane is landing or taking off there are large gates with lights like a railroad crossing that lower and keep pedestrians and vehicles out of the way. Also a DOT worker stations themselves in a truck at one end of the road to watch for violators and advise the jet to stop or abort the landing or take off.

One after noon I received a dispatch to respond for an intoxicated male on the roadway while the jet was trying to take off. The jet had taxied to the end of the runway near the road and turned around to take off. I arrived a found the jet gone and a very wet drunk staggering out of the water. The drunk could not tell me what had happened and the DOT worker was laughing to hard and was in tears at the time. So after taking the drunk 20 year old male home and providing him with a citation for Minor Consuming Alcohol I returned to find out what had happened.

Apparently our hero had been staggering down the road headed home after getting smashed in a local area known as South Tent City while the jet was taxiing. Being in a less then alert state he walked past the flashing lights and gates and DOT could not get to him to move him because of the back blast from the jet. The jet turned around and was getting ready to leave when it was advised of the drunk staggering behind the engines. The pilot waited for about 10 minutes and after not hearing another word from the DOT worker assumed the drunk was gone and hit the throttles to take off. Well our drunk was not out of the way yet and had apparently paused for a breather behind the jet while walking to enjoy those nice exhaust fumes. He was picked up by the engine back blast and cleared 30 feet of beach and about 50 feet of water before coming in for splash down. Luckily for him the water temperature is about a constant 38 degrees in the arctic and about 20 feet deep where he landed it apparently brought him around enough to swim to shore.

Posted by dr at August 13, 2004 08:50 PM | TrackBack


Posted by: Lorena at August 15, 2004 07:15 AM
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