Dangling from HT Lines

The Almuñécar fire service and the Guardia Civil rescue team had to rescue a man who became entangled on high-tension cables in Ítrabo.

COS Hanging from HT linesThe 48-year-old German paraglider pilot collided with the cables between pylons not soon after taking off.

The emergency, call centre received a call around 17.40h with dusk not far off. In fact, it took the rescuers four hours (21.30h) to get him down from his canopy that was entangled 30 metres off the ground.

The victim was suffering from the Suspension Trauma but did not need to be hospitalised and was found to be in good health

Suspension trauma: also known as harness-hang syndrome (orthostatic intolerance), occurs when somebody is suspended in a hanging position until rescue arrives. During this time, the leg straps of a harness constrict the femoral arteries on the inside of the legs, cutting off blood circulation.

Furthermore, when the leg muscles are relaxed, veins in the legs can expand dramatically (known as vasodilation). Because the leg muscles are not being used to stand up, they are not contracting and therefore not preventing the veins from expanding. This lack of constriction from the leg muscles allows blood to gather in the legs rather than returning to the heart and lungs for recirculation. The expansion of blood veins in the legs can result in a 20% loss in blood circulation.

The loss of circulation causes the heart to work harder to keep the brain and vital organs supplied with blood. This results in nausea, unconsciousness, and a drop in blood pressure and heart rate. This part of suspension trauma is the onset of circulatory shock.

When blood pools and becomes trapped in an extremity, the blood can no longer deliver oxygen from the lungs. To continue to produce energy to sustain life, the cells in the extremity undergo anaerobic respiration (without oxygen). During anaerobic respiration, glucose breaks down in half into lactic acid in a process known as lactic acidosis.

Without blood circulation in the legs, the lactic acid builds up in the stagnant blood. This buildup of acid-blood is then released when the worker is brought down and circulation restored. High levels of acid flooding the body can overwhelm the kidneys, liver, and even result in heart failure.

(News: Itrabo, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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