Accident Briefs for April 2021

This first item occurred in March 2021, but was not reported in “Accident Briefs” for the month of March in the May 2021 issue of TCI.

Climber seriously injured in 50-foot fall with limb

A climber was seriously injured March 28, 2021, in Porter County, Indiana, when the limb he was tied to broke and he fell about 50 feet to the ground.

Joshua Stone, of Porter County, was helping a friend on a side job with the removal of a 60-foot walnut tree. Stone, who has been climbing for nine years, tied in at about 50 feet and started cutting limbs when the branch he was tied into snapped and he fell, landing onto asphalt.

His wife, Kristin, says in a web post that she ran to him, that he was in shock, his mouth filled with blood and he mumbled the words, “Call someone, anyone. I can’t move my legs.”

Local paramedics arrived within 10 minutes of his accident and took him to a local hospital. X-rays revealed he’d broken his left leg, left ankle and left foot, his right leg and right foot, two vertebrae in his lower back (T-12 and L-1) and two ribs.

He was taken to the University of Chicago where he went through three surgeries, during which multiple pins and rods were inserted to align his bones so they can heal properly.

Stone will be in a wheelchair until sometime in late June, and in early July 2021 he will be able to put weight on his legs and feet and begin to learn how to walk again. Stone and his wife have three daughters to take care of and have no insurance and no income. Fundraisers are set up at both and a cash app, according to the report posted on

City worker killed on the job

A City of De Pere, Wisconsin, employee died after being injured on a job apparently involving tree work April 1, 2021, in De Pere.

First responders attempted life-saving measures, but the employee died on the way to the hospital.

While no details were provided, video images of the scene showed an aerial lift with the bucket still elevated over the roadway, a grapple truck, a chip truck and chipper and branches in the roadway. But the information provided in a WFRV-TV Local 5 report did not indicate the nature of the injury or injuries or the work being done at the time.

Climber rescued from 70 feet up

Fire crews rescued a tree climber stranded 70 feet up in a tree April 2, 2021, in Snellville, Georgia.

The climber was topping a tree behind a home when he somehow became stranded.

Firefighters specially trained as rope-rescue technicians created a rope system to attach to the man, who did not appear to be injured, and lower him to the ground safely. All of this happened, according to officials, while a neighbor helped translate between fire crews and the man.

Firefighter-EMT Brian Martin was the one to scale the tree, which had major decay, to help bring the man down. According to fire Lt.-Paramedic Brant Keiser, this is the kind of scenario firefighters on the technical-rescue team often train for, “but very rarely get to perform,” according to the
WXIA-TV/11Alive report.

Climber rescued from atop 100-foot spar

A climber suffered a serious injury and had to be rescued after his chain saw kicked back while he was about 100 feet up on the spar of a tree April 2, 2021, in Spokane, Washington.

The man, a commercial tree trimmer, suffered significant injuries and was going in and out of consciousness, and was unable to get down from the tree himself. Another climber and crews using an aerial-ladder/platform truck were able to get the man out of the tree, and he was transported to a local trauma center, according to a KREM 2 report.

Climber dies in fall with limb

A climber working in a tree died April 4, 2021, in Springfield, Virginia, when the limb he was tied in to broke, dropping him 40 to 45 feet to the ground.

Mauro Cruz Cortes, 45, of Culpepper, Va., was cutting tree limbs at a home when the incident happened. He was secured to a tree limb he was standing on when the limb broke and he fell. He was pronounced dead at the scene by rescue personnel, according to a WJLA ABC Channel 7 report.

Tree worker hurt in struck-by

A tree worker suffered major injuries and was airlifted to the hospital after being struck by a falling tree April 6, 2021, in Pescadero, California. Firefighters used a rope system to extricate the injured man, who was 300 feet down a steep hill, according to a KION TV report.

Tree worker shocked, injured

A tree worker suffered an electrical shock and was reportedly unconscious in the bucket of an aerial-lift truck after striking a power line April 6, 2021, in Browns Mills, New Jersey.

A fire-department tower truck was called to rescue the unidentified man, and Medevac was called to transport the victim to an area hospital, according to a report.

Worker killed operating stump grinder

A tree worker died after he became trapped beneath a stump grinder April 7, 2021, in Jacksonville, Florida.

The tree-company employee was working by himself in the backyard of a residence using a stump grinder between the house and a hedge. The grinder apparently fell on top of the man, or he otherwise became stuck under it, and he called out for help. A resident found the man trapped under the machine and called police. His injuries were extensive enough that the accident was fatal, according to the Florida Times-Union report.

Man dies trimming tree

James Nagy, 49, died while trimming trees April 10, 2021, in or near Butler, Pennsylvania, according to a report in the Butler Eagle. No other details were available.

Man critically injured cutting tree

A man trimming trees in back of a home in western Wichita, Kansas, was badly injured April 21, 2021, when part of a tree fell on him.

It was unclear if the man was in the tree or on the ground when the accident happened. There were some large tree pieces that came down either with him or on top of him during the work he was doing, according to police.

The victim was in serious to critical condition as he was taken to a hospital.

The homeowner told police he hired the man to do some work on the trees, according to a KSN News report. Based on photos, it appears the tree fell in an unintended direction.

Lift operator electrocuted

A tree worker was electrocuted while on a job April 22, 2021, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Randy Johnson, 58, who was working for a tree service contracted to cut down a large tree, was up in the bucket of an aerial-lift truck above the power lines cutting a limb. Johnson was moving the bucket to a better location and accidentally touched a live power line, causing him to be electrocuted.

He was taken to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, according to a News 9 report.

Man rescued after being pinned by limb

A man was transported to an area hospital after being pinned in a tree by a large limb April 27, 2021, in Shawnee, Kansas.

The man, in his late 20s, was trying to cut down a large branch when it split or broke, pinning his right leg to the tree. The man was about 20 feet above the ground and was unable to free himself.

Firefighters used a fire truck’s ladder to stabilize and lift the branch off of the man’s leg, while a firefighter on a second truck’s ladder helped the man out of the tree. The man was transported to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The man was a family member of the homeowner but was not a trained arborist, according to a Shawnee Mission Post report.

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