Tags: crushed | bowling | pin | machine

Crushed in Bowling Pin Machine: Mechanic in Critical Condition

Wednesday, 24 Apr 2013 10:08 AM

By Alexandra Ward

A family at a Florida bowling alley on Sunday alerted the staff after noticing an arm sticking out of the machine that resets the pins.

Employees at Rock'It Lanes in Panama City rushed to the back to find that repairman William James Martens, 40, had been attempting to fix the bowling pin machine when it crushed him.

They had to unplug the machine to get to Martens and manually lift him out from under it, and by that time he had already been trapped for about 15 minutes.

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When he was finally freed, Martens was blue in the face and his heart had stopped beating, according to the Panama City Beach Police Department. He was rushed to Bay Medical/Sacred Heart Hospital where he was resuscitated, but he remained in critical condition on Wednesday.

Martens must have mixed up the lane assignments and forgotten to power it off, one employee told NBC affiliate WJHG.com. The owner of Rock'It Lanes declined to comment, only saying that mechanics are always trained to unplug the machines before working on them.

In a similar mechanical tragedy, earlier this month a Seattle man was strangled to death by his own ripped-up clothing after he fell on an escalator.

Maurecio Bell, 42, was found unconscious in the early morning hours of April 7 at the bottom of a King County Metro escalator. Seattle police said Bell apparently fell and his clothing had become entangled in the moving escalator's mechanism, choking him to death.

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