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 an eleventh floor condominium in Panama City Beach.
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.
Frantically, he tried to grab something to catch himself. It was no use.
As his body plunged past the balcony railing on the floor below, Hefley said he reached and pushed himself as far as he could away from the building.
He knew there was a swimming pool eleven stories down below. He just needed to get past the concrete and land the water.
It worked, but the landing in 10 feet of water was still hard.
"Next thing I know I hit the water," Hefler said.
Hefler swam to the edge, pulled himself out and collapsed alongside the pool.