The Incredible Survival Story of an Iowa Lineman [WATCH]
While I was in quarantine over the weekend, I got really into an older show that I heard about on one of my favorite podcasts. It's called 'I Survived,' and it originally aired on the Lifetime Movie Network from 2008 to 2015. According to the IMDB page, the show "incorporates interviews with stylized recreations to tell the stories of people who overcame unbelievable circumstances that changed their lives forever."
After finishing the first season of the show, I started looking into all six seasons to see if any Iowans were ever featured. I was in luck! I found two episode featuring stories from Iowa, including an incredible story from an electrical lineman named Randy from season three.
Back in October 2007, Randy got an after hours call to go out to the small, rural town of Rowley, Iowa. A fuse had blown on one of the power poles that serviced the town, so Randy went out to fix it. He put on his climbing equipment and headed up to the transformer, which was 35 feet in the air.
While Randy was up on the power pole, he was suddenly overcome with a shocking sensation. There was apparently lightning in the area that may have struck the line, which resulted in him getting electrocuted. The show revealed that the energized line carried 7,200 volts! When asked what the experience was like, Randy said that the sensation is hard to explain. Here's what he tells people:
"...there's a scene from the movie 'The Matrix' where one of the characters picks up a phone and he's drawn into it, and there's kind of a staticky noise as he speaks and is sucked into this phone. And that's the way it felt. My body locked in that position for what seemed like forever, but I'm sure it was at least several minutes. And I was just totally at the mercy of the electricity at that moment."
After the shock, which felt like it lasted a long time, Randy was thrown away, leaving him dangling upside down from his safety belt. He said that he didn't feel that he had any control over his body at that point, and that he couldn't even sense his own breathing or heartbeat. In the interview, Randy proclaimed that he thinks he was either dead or in the process of dying at that point.
After hanging upside down for awhile, Randy's body started to convulse, and that's when he started to gain some control over his arms and hands again. He tried to pull himself upright, but he just didn't have the strength after the shock. He knew he had to act quickly, because his position put him at risk of blood clotting in the brain, as well as respiratory failure. He was able to throw his arm over the wire that was between his legs so he was at least hanging to the side, but that's when he realized he was in severe pain in his hands and wrist. There was one finger he couldn't move at all. He was also experiencing an irregular heartbeat and could smell burnt flesh.
At that point, Randy started to scream for help. The nearest houses in the dark, rural town were over 70 yards away, so nobody heard his yells. That's when he realized that he had his phone on him. Mustering all his strength, he retrieved the phone from his pouch without dropping it, and called his dispatcher for help. Just minutes later, the fire department arrived to rescue him.
Lucky for Randy, his irregular heartbeat settled the next day with no lasting effects. But, there was still some damage done. He had to have a finger amputated and skin grafts on his hands, plus nerve surgery on his arm. When asked why he thinks he survived, Randy said:
"I think I survived that night because of my training, because of my commitment to my family, and my desire to still be dad, and all those things, and my faith that night saved me."
You can hear Randy tell his own story in the full episode of I 'Survived' below: