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This is a question Near Death Experiences II

Freddie Woo says: I was once caught right in the middle of in an early morning high-speed 30-car pile-up on the M3, but emerged from the chaos in the only car not to have suffered a dent. My trousers told a different story, and learned that you *do* empty your bowels as Death's icy grip reaches out for you. Tell us about your audition for the Final Destination films.

Suggested by Just a Vagabond

(, Thu 15 May 2014, 12:55)
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18. Old enough to drive. With use of car. Reasonably proficient with a screwdriver. Temporarily employed as an electricians mate.
Mainly because I had a car and his was off the road and he had a job to do at Bruntingthorpe airfield. 60 miles away.

£25 a day for two days' work in 1989 seemed OK to me, so we drove over and he surveyed the job- wiring up portakabins to a distribution board for mains, fed by an Aggreko 50kW diesel 3-phase genset.

Natch, as the 'mate' I got the casual unpleasant jobs, such as attaching the earth strap from the toilet block to the earth rod next to where the shitty sewer water was leaking out of the toilet cabin greywater pipe. I also had to hand tools back and forth like an operating theatre nurse and crimp twin-and-earth wires to eyelets but it was all jolly and new and exciting to me. We even had the fun of two A-10 tankbusters lazily mock-dogfighting in the air above the airfield and wondered if my Mini Metro was being practice-targeted for missile-death by the pilots. That wasn't the near death experience.

Once all the cabins were wired up to the electrician's satisfaction, the last task was at the distribution cabinet- three phase bus bars with the spurs bolted on, the electrician suggested the last thing we need to to is the 'Bottle test'. 'Can you just ratchet up the tension on the earth bus bar nut while I check the generator?'

OK, I did so. Metal ratchet driver, metal bar, conductive path but Earth, so surely safe enough. *Applies tool, starts ratcheting. Leaning forward, cabinet open, three phase bus bars 6 inches from my forehead as I lean down to tighten the earth bolt. Still, it's not electrified.

As I ratcheted up I heard a loud sooty splutter and then the sound of the generator starting up and settling at idle speed.

SHIT I am 6 inches away from live 3-phase electricity, 415 Volts, if I fall forwards into this open cabinet I will be toast, charcoal, cardiac arrest and I didn't even get laid......

Muscles locked in fear- back away, back away, take hands gently off metal ratchet driver still connected to earth bus bar and back away...back away....8 feet away SAFE.....oh hell. OH HELL I NEARLY JUST DIED.

Electrician came back over round the back of the generator with a jovial smile on his face.

'I only started the genny, I didn't cut in the breakers! That's why they call it the bottle test! See how you react!'

*Apparently I should have known because the note of the engine exhaust would have gone from a steady 1500rpm to 1200rpm under load had the breakers actually have been cut in.

So I thought I nearly died but for the mercy of a pranking electrician, I wasn't actually close.
(, Thu 15 May 2014, 19:59, Reply)

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