Accident Briefs – August 2020

All items taken from published reports or reported directly to TCIA staff, as noted.

Accidents in the tree care industry that occurred during the month of June 2020. Graphic compiled from reports gathered by, or submitted to, TCIA staff.

Tree worker electrocuted

A tree worker died June 1, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona, after coming into contact with a power line.

Crisostomo Hernandez-Aguilar, 28, was working on a backyard palm at a residence.

First responders found Hernandez-Aguilar on fire and still suspended about 30 feet in the palm near the power lines. Fire officials said technical-rescue companies removed the body, according to an Associated Press report.

Ground worker killed in struck-by

A tree worker was struck and killed by falling debris June 1, 2020, in Anderson, Indiana.

Michael Lusher, 36, was working as part of a crew from a local tree care company and was struck while clearing brush at the bottom of a tree the crew was trimming.

He was transported to Ascension St. Vincent Hospital in Anderson, where he was pronounced dead. The coroner listed the preliminary cause of death as accidental blunt-force trauma to the head, according to a report in The Herald Bulletin.

Tree worker killed

A climber and foreman for a line-clearance company was killed on the job June 2, 2020, in Maryland. The victim was Donald E. “DJ” Walker, Jr., 26, of Lonaconing, Maryland. No details related to the incident were provided in Walker’s obituary in The Cumberland Times-News, and no other published report was found on the incident.

Climber killed in fall

A climber died in a fall from a tree he was working in June 4, 2020, in Ridgewood, New Jersey.

The 35-year-old man from Bergenfield, N.J., was working at a home for a local tree-service company. He was nearly 30 feet up when he fell, and a tree limb landed on top of him. He was killed instantly, responders said, according to a Ridgewood Daily Voice report.

Tree worker injured in struck-by

A tree worker was injured June 9, 2020, in Lynn, Massachusetts, when a limb from a tree he was taking down fell on him.

The 32-year-old man was working for a tree service removing a tree in Lynn Woods Reservation at the time of the accident. He was in stable condition when he was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, according to a report in The Boston Globe.

Climber dies in 60-foot fall

A tree worker died in a 60-foot fall from a tree June 12, 2020, in St. Helena, California.

Jesus Perez, 49, of Napa, Calif., was a tree-removal worker for a company that offers products and services for wineries.

He died at the scene, according to the Napa Valley Register report.

One killed, another injured in truck crash

One tree-company worker was killed and another was injured June 12, 2020, in Honolulu, Hawaii, when their company truck went off an overpass onto a highway below.

Albert Ramos, 55, who was identified as the driver of the truck, was killed. His passenger, a man identified in reports only as Sinisa, 23, was injured.

Ramos was driving the truck that was pulling a trailer carrying construction equipment. They were traveling eastbound on the H1 Freeway viaduct when Ramos lost control and struck the center concrete median. Upon impact, the truck went over the median and landed below on Nimitz Highway.

Ramos was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition, where he later died. Sinisa was seriously injured and taken to a nearby hospital. No other vehicles were involved, according to a KITV4 Island News report.

Carol Kwan, owner of Carol Kwan Consulting, LLC, in Mililani, Hawaii, alerted us to this report.

Man rescued from 50 feet up in palm

A man pinned by fronds 50 feet off the ground while pruning a palm was rescued by firefighters June 12, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada. A ladder truck reached the man and a platform was put in place to get him into a harness before he was lowered in what officials called a “high-angle rescue.”

The man was conscious and responding but having difficulty breathing due to the weight of the palm fronds when rescuers reached him. He refused medical care when he was lowered to the ground.

In total, seven units, including the technical-rescue teams from both Clark County Fire Department and Las Vegas Fire and Rescue, responded to the call, according to a KLAS-TV report.

Climber dies after harness reportedly fails

A climber died June 20, 2020, in Ogden Dunes, Indiana, after he fell about 40 to 50 feet while trimming a tree.

The man, from Ogden Dunes, was working as a tree-trimming contractor, and investigators determined he fell when the safety harness he was wearing had a failure.

The man was trimming a very tall pine tree when he fell. He was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary, Ind., where he died from his injuries, according to a Northwest Indiana Times report.

Injured climber rescued from treetop

A climber who was injured while topping a conifer tree was rescued after being stranded 80 feet in the air June 27, 2020, in Lakeview, Idaho.

The climber was cutting the top of the tree when it either broke free early or went the wrong way, or both, and struck him. The tree was described by investigators as “rotted.”

The impact broke the man’s right arm and leg. The climber, who was wearing a harness, was secured to the damaged tree by a co-worker.

A helicopter was called to rescue the man, but there was concern that rotor wash from the helicopter would topple the tree.

Selkirk Fire Rescue & EMS conducted a high-angle rescue with webbing and pulleys. The injured climber was transferred to Selkirk’s rope system and lowered to the ground. He was taken to Lake Pend Oreille, where a Timberlake Fire District boat picked him up. The man was later transferred to a Bonner County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol vessel and ultimately flown from the scene by Life Flight Network.

The man was stranded in the treetop for approximately two hours. The rescue took 40 to 45 minutes, according to a Bonner County Daily Bee report.

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