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The Tragic Construction Accident Curse Of Oak Island's David Blankenship Suffered

Since its inception, History Channel's "The Curse of Oak Island" has been a reality series held up by its hard-working cast and crew, along with the promise of hidden buried treasure, of course. But it's ultimately the people on the show — the Laginas, the Testers, the Blankenships, and everyone else involved — that have kept things afloat on "Oak Island" for nearly a decade now. One of the individuals who has played an integral part in that is David Blankenship.

A treasure hunter since the 1970s, Blankenship and his dad, Dan, have been searching for legendary riches and artifacts on Nova Scotia's slice of excavation paradise for years, and long before series stars Marty and Rick Lagina showed up. As viewers know, the younger Blankenship isn't afraid to get his hands dirty or do the tough stuff while on a dig, and the same can be said of his life outside "Oak Island." David actually spent time as a steelworker at one point in the mid-1980s, and in 1986, his toughness was put to the ultimate test following a tragic construction accident.

David Blankenship nearly died and was left partially paralyzed by a hit from a crane cable

It was a once-in-a-lifetime tragedy that still affects David Blankenship to this day — and one that he was truly lucky to survive and recover from. 

During a construction job, David was reportedly struck by a thrashing crane cable and hurled against the crane's cab, which was located more than 45 feet away from where he was standing (via Mysteries of Canada). As noted by David in the first episode of the recap series, "The Curse of Oak Island: Drilling Down," the cable in question had been carrying a 5-ton air compressor when the boom of the crane snapped off and caused the compressor to go flying. As a result, the cable began whipping around and caught David by his knees. He wound up crashing through the crane cab's windshield and, when he came down, the strap on his hardhat was said to have "pinched" his carotid artery. This caused David to have a massive stroke, leaving him partially paralyzed and in "a comatose state," as Mysteries of Canada puts it. But the "Oak Island" star wouldn't be held down forever. As noted by him in "Drilling Down," David eventually regained his ability to walk and talk, along with most of his other faculties, though he does suffer from numbness on the entire left side of his body. "Oak Island" viewers can likely spot the rough-and-tough treasure hunter limping at points throughout past seasons, but that's generally it.

"[Doctors] told mom and dad that I was going to be a vegetable and never get out of bed again," David explained during his "Drilling Down" recap interview. "They forgot to tell me!"