Accident Briefs for November 2020

All items taken from published reports or reported directly to TCIA staff, as noted. Send Accident News To Editor@tcia.org.

Homeowner killed by cut tree

A 73-year-old man was killed November 1, 2020, in Gaffney, South Carolina, when a tree he felled behind his home caused a second tree to fall and the second tree landed on top of him.

Bobby Wayne Bradley, Sr., used a chain saw to take down a large tree. The impact of the cut tree jarred the ground, causing another nearby large tree with rotted roots to give way. The second tree pinned Bradley to the ground.

He was discovered by his wife moments after the incident, but was pronounced dead at the scene, according to The News & Observer and WYFF Channel 4 reports.

Climber injured after tree fails

A climber suffered serious injuries November 2, 2020, in Mystic, Connecticut, after falling 50 feet when the tree he was cutting failed.

The victim, a 25-year-old man who was a contractor, was in the process of limbing and topping the tree for removal. The man had just cut the top off the tree when the tree snapped 30 feet below him. He landed on a small shed-type structure and was trapped there under the toppled tree.

Firefighters worked to pull the tree off the climber and extract him from the shed. The man was flown by Life Star to Hartford Hospital in serious condition, according to The Day and WTNH reports.

Pinned climber rescued from tree

A climber was rescued by first responders November 5, 2020, in Clayton County, Georgia, after he became pinned in a tree by a rigging line.

Responding officers found two tree workers in the backyard of a home, including the one pinned from ankle to torso by a rope being held taut by a large tree limb it was attached to. The limb was hinged over but still attached to the tree.

Officers acquired two ladders from a neighboring residence. One ladder was used to gain access to the steel-reinforced rope so it could be cut with bolt cutters. The second ladder was used to gain access to the climber so that when the steel rope was cut, he would not fall and further injure himself. When the steel rope was cut, the arborist was freed from the tree.

It still took some time before Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services could remove him, due to the injuries he sustained from being suspended in the tree. During the investigation, officers learned the arborist had been stuck in the tree for approximately 30 minutes before anyone called emergency services, according to a report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Operator seriously injured in fall from bucket

An aerial-lift operator was seriously injured November 5, 2020, in Reisterstown, Maryland, after a tree or tree part struck the bucket he was in, knocking the operator out of the bucket and causing him to fall 30 to 40 feet to the ground.

The man was taken to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center with serious and potentially life-threatening injuries, according to a WBAL-TV 11 report.

Pinned climber rescued by firefighters trained in tree rescue

Firefighters took about an hour to free a climber whose leg was pinned by a fallen limb November 7, 2020, in Fairfield, Connecticut.

A crew from a tree company was working on a tree when a branch suddenly dropped as one of the workers was removing a large limb from an adjacent tree. The climber’s leg was pinned between the fallen limb and the tree.

A second tree worker climbed the tree to help his co-worker, but was unable to reach the injured man. Fairfield firefighters said the worker was trapped in a high, difficult-to-reach location complicated by branches and other debris blocking access for rescuers.

The worker who attempted to rescue the man was plucked from the tree by Fairfield firefighters, who called the Bridgeport Fire Department to assist, due to the height of the tree and difficulty reaching the injured man.

Fairfield firefighters used chain saws to clear branches and access the tree. Once the base of the tree was cleared, they used portable ground ladders to gain access to the victim.

Two Fairfield firefighters, Frank Zwierlein and Rich Bassett, had recently attended a special arborist tree-rescue class and constructed a special haul system they used to lift the heavy branch that trapped the man’s leg. They then secured a rescue harness to the man and belayed him to the ground.

Fairfield assistant fire chief George Gomola described the rescue as high risk, complicated by how high the victim was in the tree, the size of the branch trapping his leg and the limited access afforded to rescuers. “The specialty training that our firefighters had received prior to this incident paid huge dividends in safety and efficiency.”

The tree worker was taken to St. Vincent’s Medical Center, where his condition was not immediately known, according to the report in The Wilton Bulletin.

Worker rescued from palm

It took emergency crews about 20 minutes to free a tree trimmer who wound up trapped upside down in a palm tree, about 30 feet above the ground, November 9, 2020, in a San Carlos, California-
area neighborhood.

After firefighters got the victim, a man in his 40s, out of the tree, medics took him to Sharp Memorial Hospital for evaluation of complaints of dizziness and nausea, according to a Times of San Diego report.

Bucket operator hurt in fall

The operator of an aerial-lift bucket was injured November 19, 2020, in Duxbury, Massachusetts, when a large leader he was removing swung in an unintended direction, knocking the operator out of the bucket and to the ground.

The operator was an undisclosed distance off the ground and was not wearing his full-body harness. The man was hospitalized with undisclosed but very serious injuries, according to a report related directly to TCIA staff.

Worker killed by felled tree

A tree worker died after he was pinned to the ground by a felled tree November 25, 2020, at a home in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

The 26-year-old man from Everett, Mass., was working for a contracted tree-trimming service.

It was reported that the victim was not breathing, and responding Sudbury officers began performing CPR on him. Sudbury Fire paramedics also arrived and provided life-saving efforts.

The man, who was not identified, was transported to Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass., where he was pronounced dead, according to Boston Globe and WCVB Channel 5 reports.

Homeowner hurt by cut tree

A man was injured November 30, 2020, in Calvin Township, Michigan, while cutting down trees on his property.

Ro-Mell Dungey, 40, had been trying to remove trees on his property when one of the trees fell on him. His 14-year-old son removed the tree and then went to find help.

Fire and EMS personnel removed Dungey from the woods, and MedFlight took him to South Bend Memorial Hospital in Indiana with undisclosed injuries, according to a 94.9 WSJM report.

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