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Purity of Arms

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as told by Teddy Kaplan

We were finishing off our parachuting course, and as you know, the last jump was a night jump. Our officer was new and had taken a distinct disliking to me which I think became mutual in a short time. We were taken to the Airport and got on board the plane after the usual checking preparations. The plane on final examination was unable to fly and we had to get off and wait to see what next... back on the trucks and taken to another place and another plane.

As we were running late we had no time to recheck our straps and buckles and go onto the plane, hooked up and waited for the jump. My buckle had slid from the normal position which was low on the back, to my shoulder and I just could not move it back under those conditions.

You can remember the night-jumps - the hollow feeling in your stomach as you waited the signal, and the black abyss into which one jumped or got pushed. Well finally came the signal light and out we went. I jumped and felt a tremendous blow on the side of my head. My helmet had been knocked sideways by the chute-straps and I had a feeling of something warm and wet on the side of my head. In fact, I was in a complete daze. Somehow or other I went through all the motions of landing and lay for a while on the ground hearing the others answering to their pre-arranged calls. When my turn to answer came I was in such a daze that I was unable to get a word out. I folded my chute, gathered my things together and dripping with blood, hardly able to see, groped my way in the direction of the voices and lights.

My Officer was so relieved to see me walking that he did not have time to enjoy the fact that I was dripping blood. After a superficial examination he called for someone to take me to Hospital, which was some 30 miles away.

Imagine my surprise when the chap leads me to a motorcycle with a pillion seat. He gets on, tells me to get on and hold him tight and we are off, me dripping blood still and holding on for dear life. We had traveled about 20 km. When the bike engine started to stutter and finally spluttered and died ... No petrol! What to do? We both stood on the road and started hitching. Finally a van came along and took us to the Hospital, where I was admitted and laid up for about two weeks.

THIS WAS REPRODUCED FROM THE NEWSLETTER OF THE CAPE TOWN NACHAL ASSOCIATION IN FEBRUARY 1967. TEDDY KAPLAN, SINCE THEN HAS HAD TREMENDOUS SUCCESS IN THE WEIGHTLIFTING WORLD, HAVING WON UMPTEEN MEDALS, CUPS, ETC.