A storm was blowing on this day, creating lively motion for both rig and platform. As the crane operator lifted the tree from the wellhead, it began to swing. The drill pipe acted as a pendulum and the oscillation got greater and greater.
Landing the tree would destroy it, so the crane operator saw no option than to hoist the load up to the drill floor because it was crushing everything in its way.
With the pendulum motion undoubtedly reaching four-five metres in each direction, a big risk existed that producing wells would be hit and damaged.
Suddenly, one of the roughnecks jumped onto the tree as it surged past. He clutched the drill pipe with one hand and called out for a rope to be thrown to him.
People on the drill floor were in a state of panic, but eventually managed to get a line across. He wound this round the pipe and threw it back.
A steel cable was eventually put in place, and the pendulum effect began to diminish. The tree was lowered and the roughneck could climb down unhurt from his “swing”.