Man falls 11 stories, lives to tell about it

Man falls 11 stories, lives to tell about it

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.

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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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