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Incident Details


General Information
Title: Severe Finger injury from pull start cord
Date: 02/05/2012
Time:
Location: Spain

Pilot Information
Age:
Gender: Male
Pilot weight (without motor): US Pounds
Rating: Not Applicable
Experience: Not Applicable

Incident Detail Information
Type of Incident: Powerplant/Equipment Malfunction
Primary Cause: Pilot Error and Mechanical Failure
Contributing Distractions: None
Windspeed: Not Applicable
Wind Type: Not Applicable
Thermal Conditions: Not Applicable
Visibility:
Surface: Not Applicable
Terrain: Not Applicable
Site Elevation: (feet above sea level)
Phase of Flight: Not Applicable
Purpose of Flight: Not Applicable

Safety Gear Used:
None
Helmet Full
Helmet Other
Protective Boots
Knee-pads
Elbow-pads
Wrist Guards
Reserve
Knife
Gloves
Strobe
Unknown

Communications: Not Applicable
Damage to Pilot's Equipment: Not Applicable
Wing:
Motor:

Injury Information
Pilot/Passenger Injury Severity: Not Applicable
Hosipitalization: Emergency Room

Injuries:
None
Head
Face
Neck
Chest
Back
Abdomen
Shoulder
Arm
Elbow
Forearm
Wrist
Hand
Pelvis
Thigh
Calf
Ankle
Foot
Knee
Unknown

Collateral Damage:
None
By-Stander
Other Pilot
Animal
Property
Unknown

Narrative: Las Candelas, near Séville, Spain. Sunday mid-morning, during one leg of the competition where 2 pilots are head to head on the same circuit, one of my friends, who was competing, tried to foot start his engine but the knot went through his handle. Luckily for him, not so much for me, he was quick to catch the line before it got all tangled in the starter. We ran to go help him out. I asked for a knife as the knot was too tight and could not be undone for me to reattach the handle. No one could find one and we were in a hurry to get him started (in retrospect there was no urgency as I think the tournament director and other pilot would have waited). So I decided to start the motor by pulling on the line without any handle. For sensitive souls stop reading here. I twisted the line around my hand and index finger (although I don’t remember doing it with the index finger) and proceeded to pull hard. The motor “blocked” and kicked back. The cord ripped my hand, and I hurt myself some and was going for a second try at starting the motor when I realized I was bleeding profusely. I saw a big wound and could barely understand when one of the pilots said “the finger is on the ground”. In reality, almost half of the skin was gone, like if you were skinning an animal. All you could see was bone. My friend immediately picked up the skin (which was giving the impression my finger was cut in half) and rushed for the ambulance. It wasn’t very painful and off we went to Seville 1 hour ¼ away. The surgeon, who was very nice by the way, decided to cut the bone as skin graph was not an option and he was afraid for infection. After surgery my right index finger was cut in half. I was not in pain then but the ride back home (17 hours of road time) and no pain killers, started to get tough. So this is my story and I say never start a motor with no pull handle. And if before the operation I wasn’t in that much pain, it is not the case anymore. Typed with my left index finger.

Photo:  No photo on file.