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I had a very similar experience, also in 2011. My two older brothers and I were visiting our parents in a remote area on the West coast, near a shut-down-but-guarded cellulose factory. We took a canoe out just as the sun was setting and approached the factory shoreline, a few beers deep already. We pulled our canoe onto the shore as daylight faded and we skirted along the dilapidated carcass of the main building. Rotting support logs criss-crossed above our heads as we peeked into the ground-floor rooms, scavenging for trinkets.
The factory was comprised of several buildings, most no more than 2 storeys tall, but on the shore was *la piece du resistance*: a control room suspended by steel girders, 150ft above the water where a crane operator would manoeuvre a massive steel log grabber. Imagine the claw game but 40 feet across, designed to lift dozens of adult trees from the log boom below. We climbed through the lower levels of the factory, past abandoned rounds of lumber literally 20ft in diameter and saws with footlong blades. We climbed up wood escalators and had the times of our lives, looting “HIGH VOLTAGE” and “SAW OPERATOR” signs from the crusty instruments and panels in rooms of broken glass.
We ascended to the control room. The steel mesh stairs were suspended in the air, occasionally with a rusted handrail but often without – clearly the handrails had been broken off in years past. Each step was only made possible with the aid of our beers in hand as we peered below to the moonlit water.
We made it to the control room, played around and walked back down with no issue. Perhaps that made us a little overconfident, because as soon as we were back on “solid” ground, 3 storeys above real ground, a wooden beam snapped and gave way underneath my brother right in front of my eyes. In an instant he went from my eye level, 10 ft away, to the floor – by reflex, he caught himself by his elbows. All I could see was his head, his shoulders, and the hole where there was once solid wood. He cursed about spilling his beer and, with the help of my other brother, was hoisted back up.
We looked into the hole he came within inches of falling into. There was no floor beneath it, just twisted rebar and an 80ft drop. We looked at each other, put our heads down and solemnly made our way back to the canoe.
[Here is a shot of the control room from the water](http://i.imgur.com/YToPbAm.jpg)