Man falls 11 stories, lives to tell about it

Man falls 11 stories, lives to tell about it
Image: Station RTV video screen grab

Two words went through Mark Hefley’s head in the moments after he leaned too far back and toppled off an 11th-floor Florida balcony on Tuesday.

The first word was “Oh”; the second was an expletive that won’t be published in the IndyStar.

“It just felt like it was a long way down,” Hefley, 38, told IndyStar Friday. He’s back home in Greenwood now, nursing bruises and a bloody nose but thankful to be alive.

Hefley, a machinist, and his wife, Jamie, were vacationing and visiting friends in Florida when he decided to help a buddy install a tile floor in at a condominium in Panama City Beach.

They’d finished the job and went out onto the balcony. There was a lot of stooping and bending. The work was hard on his back, so Hefley leaned on the railing to stretch.

It felt good, he said, until he leaned a little too far.

“Next thing you know, my feet had come up over my head.”

Hefley went over the side. He remembered his nose hitting the balcony deck.

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