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March - Did You Know March 23rd is "Near Miss Day"?

The following are a few "Near Miss" stories our staff experienced or witnessed:


Alyah's Near Miss Airplane Collision
In the late 90s my family and I were traveling by plane from NYC back to Richmond – during the flight our plane did a quick nose dive and we all thought our plane was going to crash – seconds later our pilot straightened out the plane and a few minutes later we landed safely in RIC with a thunderous roar of applause from all the passengers as we all thought we were going to die. The next day my mother read an article in the Richmond Times about our experience – apparently we were about to collide head on with another plane and our amazing and awesome pilot saved our lives with that very scary nose dive.

Bob's Near Miss
About 12 years ago, I was driving at night during a rain shower with my son as a passenger. We had just turned onto Broad Street, merged to the center lane and was accelerating to get into the flow of traffic when suddenly “something” caught my eye and I slammed on the brakes coming to an abrupt hard stop. A jay-walker dressed entirely in dark clothing was standing with his back to me inches from the front of my vehicle in the center lane. The person slowly turned to face me, peered from under his hood, gently tapped the car hood and then continued strolling across the street seemingly oblivious on how close he came to injury or death.

With the darkness, the rain and all the glare/reflections neither my son or I truly “saw” him prior to stopping. He definitely had a guardian angel that night.

Ron's Near Miss
It was a typically hot and muggy day in Lakeland Florida. I was working at an industrial wastewater treatment facility. One of the main treatment tanks, which was 35 feet tall and 12 feet in diameter, had become overloaded with 5 to 10 feet of sludge that had to be shoveled out. I dressed out in full protective gear including an organic vapor respirator, so that I could enter the tank and shovel out the sludge. I had tested the oxygen and other gases and the space was ok for entry. The first 45 minutes to an hour, no problem, shoveling the sludge to the manhole and my crew dumping it in a roll off. Then I woke up. I was outside the tank, nauseous, with a splitting headache. There had been a solvent layer in the tank that the respirator could not filter and I had been overcome by fumes, and the oxygen in the tank had been displaced by the fumes so I was also suffocating. Fortunately, when I passed out I slid to the tank opening and my arm fell through the manhole and the crew was able to pull me out of the tank and into the fresh air, which revived me.

Martha's Near Miss Fall into Fire
At a campsite in Colorado, we had built a fire in a metal fire pit that sat on a square concrete slab. The fire had burned down to embers and it was dark outside. As I approached the fire pit, I tripped on the concrete slab and headed face first into the fire. Luckily a wooden board had just been placed on the pile of embers and had not yet started to burn; I caught my fall with both hands on the board and avoided serious burns to hands and face.

Neil's Near Miss
My near miss experience happened last April, while I was watching the NCAA Men’s National Championship Game, when I heard a strange noise. I asked my wife if she heard it and she replied, “Yes, it’s probably an ice cream truck” and I replied, “In April”? This noise went on for about an hour and by this time, the game was at half time. When I got up to see what this noise was, I realized it came from our basement. I went downstairs into the basement, and noticed the noise was from a Christmas decoration that I bought after Christmas, in which it didn’t work at the time. When I turned the decoration off, something told me to look to my left. What I saw was, behind the dryer, the plug had burned all the way through and the sparks from the burnt plug began to go up the wall. I ran and turned off the breaker to kill the power. Luckily, the sparks quit and called my brother-in-law, who is an electrician, and he came and fixed the issue the next day. He told me, if I had waited another day, the house would not be standing. We would have lost everything.

Robin's Near Miss
Last year, I was driving home on Robious Road. The traffic was bumper to bumper. I saw a brown flash go by the front of the car then I heard a boom. The car heading my way hit the deer that has just cleared my car.

Jeff's Near Miss
My dad taught me how to shoot skeet when I was 11 or 12. I had progressed pretty well, and one day we were shooting and I was doing terribly. Dad was riding me pretty hard telling me what I was doing wrong. He finally told me he wouldn’t let me shoot for the rest of the year if I missed the next one. No matter where it goes, I better hit it. He was staged with the thrower to my right. He loaded the clay so that when I said “pull” and it launched it went way off to the right. I swung around and saw Dad running backward as fast as he could (faster than I ever would have believed he could). I gave him a second or so to get out of the way and when he was I pulled the trigger. Hit my first clay of the day and missed Dad.

Afterward I thought I was dead meat. It wasn’t intentional, I reacted to the situation. He is quite authoritative and somewhat intimidating so I did what he said. We continued on after a brief awkward silence. The next time we shot he talked for the first time about what happened. He said he understood why it happened that he had went on and on that I better hit that clay no matter what. He then very calmly asked that I never do that again if the clay went near where he was. He also quit loading far right shots.