Whatever Happened...

An update on past news

Wednesday, December 10, 1997

Isle man describes
Golden Gate fall

What ever happened to the Wailupe Circle resident who survived a plunge from the Golden Gate Bridge and lived to tell about it?

Evan C. "Slim" Lambert, retired, still lives at Wailupe Circle.

After the fall, he eventually became vice president of Hawaiian Cruises Ltd.

As a young man, he was one of about a dozen Golden Gate construction workers who fell into San Francisco Bay when scaffolding gave way Feb. 17, 1937. He was the only long-term survivor.

When staging broke under the bridge deck, about 250 feet above the water, the men dropped into a safety net below.

A number of heavy wooden forms fell into the safety net after the men. The weight caused the net to break away.

"One side went down," Lambert later recalled. "When the staging started to go, I dived over the side into the net." Lambert, then 27, had a controlled fall because he beat the staging to the net by an instant.

"I hung onto the net during the fall until we got near the water. Then I let go and straightened up. I had been falling head down until that point. Then I straightened up and hit the water feet first and that's what saved me," he said.

After maybe 45 minutes in the cold water of the bay, he and another survivor were picked up by a crab fisherman in a small motorboat. Lambert had gathered floating chunks of wood to keep them afloat. "He had a hell of a time getting us into that boat, I can tell you," Lambert said.

His injured companion died on the way to shore.

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