Raymond W. Allen saved James W. Miller from an impending fall, Houston, Texas, October 29, 1964. Aboard a cargo vessel Miller, 48, longshoreman, was removing wooden cover panels from between parallel steel beams which were five feet apart and extended 20 feet across the main deck hatch. As Miller was working on the last section to be uncovered, four panels suddenly dropped to the bottom of the hold 46 feet below. Miller was thrown against a beam, sustaining leg injuries, but checked his fall by grasping its three-inch bottom flange, to which he hung precariously by his fingers and called for help. Allen, 35, longshoreman, made his way along the beam to opposite Miller. He inserted his arms through openings in metal bracing just above the deck, interlocked his fingers, and lowered himself at the other side of the beam. Hanging by his arm hold, Allen wrapped his legs tightly around Miller’s waist and supported some of his weight. Miller, who weighed 50 pounds more than Allen, continued holding to the beam but said he could not do so much longer. G. Howard Bruner and his son descended to the subdeck 15 feet below, where the hatch opening between the beams was completely uncovered. Taking with them a panel cover two feet wide and slightly over five feet long, they made their way along a beam five feet from the one directly below Miller and Allen. Sitting on that beam, Bruner’s son swung the panel across the span and held it tightly in place against the next beam. Bruner stepped onto the panel and moved to directly below Miller, where he stood with his aims upraised to try to catch him if he fell. Nearly exhausted, Miller rested more than half his weight on Allen, who urged him to retain his hold on the beam. By then a rope had been obtained. While men on the deck held one end, a man took the other end and, sitting astride the beam, made his way to near Miller and Allen. From the opposite end of the beam another man moved to near them in the same manner. The man with the rope lowered it between Allen and Miller. Releasing one band and supporting his full weight and most of Miller’s by one arm, Allen worked the rope around Miller, returned it to the man on the beam, and regained his interlocking grip. A sliding knot was fashioned in the rope and drawn tight around Miller’s chest. As Allen released his leg hold, Miller swung free on the rope held by the men and was drawn onto the deck. Allen who had hung from the bracing for almost six minutes, was too weak to climb onto the beam. The two men sitting astride the beam aided Allen onto it and thence to the deck.
47588 – 489747588-4897