dohI can’t believe I said that to the 9-1-1 caller.  It was unintentional, totally inappropriate, and had everyone in the room in fits of giggles.

Other dispatchers will understand the sometimes dark humor we express in our jobs, and how something that to an outside observer (or the brass) will seem completely humorless, but will have us guffawing and giggling for hours afterwards.  Something like that happened to me yesterday, and it involved a crashed aircraft and it’s pilot stuck on a rockface above a lake.

I really meant it to be reassuring, but it sure didn’t come out that way!

Here’s the story:

I took a second call from the man who dialed 9-1-1 on his cell phone.  He had called about 20 minutes prior in his initial call, and was wondering if we were sending help.  I assured him that the Deputy was nearby, and that we were organizing a rescue operation to help him.  He had been para-gliding (not sure what the difference is from hang-gliding) from a hilltop near Lake Kaweah when he lost control and crashed into a rockface about 1,500 to 2.000 feet above the nearby highway.  I told him the deputy could see him, so we knew where he was, and that someone would be up to help him as soon as we could get our teams up there.  We called out the Search and Rescue Team, and someone found a helicopter to assist.  (We had called our usual resources for aircraft, and none were available.  I don’t know where this one came from, but it was good it showed up to help.)

So, anyway, as I was speaking to the gentleman suffering from a back injury, laying on the side of a mountain under his para-glider, and after telling him I was going to hang up with him for the time being since his battery was low on the cell phone, I uttered something completely inappropriate.

“Hang in there”

As soon as I hung up, the room erupted.

This may be my moniker for a while.

I’m sorry, Mr. ParaGlider.  Poor choice of words on my part, and completely unintentional.  I hope you’re doing OK.  (Since this is your second crash with this craft, I might suggest a new hobby.  Or at least an aircraft with an engine!)