Ironworker saved by debris net after 6-story fall from Amazon construction site in Seattle

Jesse Ely is now recovering in the ICU at Harborview Medical Center after a net caught him from an six-story fall Monday.

Family and fellow ironworkers from Local 86 are amazed and thankful he’s alive.

KIRO 7 learned on Wednesday the construction net that caught him was meant for a maximum 300 pounds of debris, not a human.  The building being constructed is a new tower for Amazon at 8th and Lenora in Seattle.

“They were following every safety precaution,” Local 86 business manager Chris McClain told KIRO 7.  “And this is basically a strange moment where Jesse fell basically under the guardrail.”

Ely dislocated an arm and a leg and severed arteries in both.  Surgery successfully repaired both arteries.  He also faces knee surgery and has a broken jaw.

Ely is a journeyman ironworker with more than 10 years’ experience.

“He's worked on some of our more complex projects,” McClain said.  “And that's part of the reason we know this was just a freak moment, because of his general knowledge. He's an outstanding ironworker.”

Ely's wife, Katy Ely, posted this video of Ely on Facebook Wednesday.

It shows Ely playing with their two kids just a few days ago.  Katie Ely wrote how hard it is to see her husband in so much pain.

“I did speak with his wife for a moment at the hospital,” McClain said.  “She is also feeling very uplifted that he is awake and that all of his limbs and body parts are functioning at this point.”

A GoFundMe page for the family already surpassed the initial goal of $8,000.

Edward Day is a fellow ironworker who never met Ely, but on Wednesday, he stopped by Local 86 to donate to Ely's family.

“It's tough,” Day told KIRO 7.  “He's going to be out of work for a period of time. He's got two kids and a wife.  When I've been in a bad spot and guys I've worked with have been in a similar spot, everybody's looked out for each other.”

Work continued on the building after the accident on Monday.  McClain told KIRO 7 the ironworkers started working in pairs to better look out for each other. It'll be up to each individual worker how long they do that.

Additionally, union leaders will review all safety procedures.  Labor and Industries is handling the official investigation.

Family and Local 86 members are focused on the Ely family.  Day had a message for his fellow ironworker.

“Just stay strong. It's tough, but you'll battle through it,” Day said.  “He survived that fall, so that says a lot right there.”

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