Accident Briefs – September 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 July 2020. Graphic compiled from reports gathered by, or submitted to, TCIA staff.

Two shocked trimming trees from lift

Two tree workers in an aerial lift were shocked when they apparently made contact with a power line while trimming trees July 3, 2020, in North Richland Hills, Texas.

Both victims were taken to a local hospital by ground ambulance and were in serious condition.

The incident left between 30 and 40 homes in the area temporarily without power, according to a KTVT-TV/CBS 11 report.

Climber rescued after hand pinned

A climber had to be rescued July 6, 2020, in New Hope, North Carolina, from about halfway up a tall pine tree after his hand was pinned between two sections of the limb he was cutting.

The New Hope Fire Department called for the assistance of the Belfast Fire Department and their ladder truck for the rescue operation. A doctor apparently climbed the tree to help free the man’s hand and safely lower him to the ground, with help from the firefighters. The climber was assisted to a medical gurney, and emergency medical-services personnel took him to a hospital for treatment of a hand injury, according to a Goldsboro Daily News report.

Homeowner gets stuck 60 feet up in tree

Firefighters assisted a homeowner who got stuck approximately 60 feet up in a tree July 11, 2020, in Aberdeen, North Carolina.

Multiple agencies responded to the scene to rescue the homeowner, who had been attempting to cut the tree down when he became overheated and began to experience heat cramps, causing his hands to lock up.

Rescuers were going to bring in a ladder or tower truck, but would not have had enough room between two fences to get the outriggers out and level. Instead, Joe Mancos, a local man with experience in high-angle rescues, climbed the tree.

Firefighters were using ropes to provide the man with Pedialyte the entire time. After getting about three-quarters of the way up, Mancos was able to communicate with the man, who told him the cramps were feeling better and that he felt safer climbing down.

The rescue took about an hour and a half. The victim was checked by paramedics on scene and released, according to a Sandhills Sentinel report.

Operator dies after cut tree strikes lift

The operator of an aerial lift was killed July 13, 2020, in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, when a piece of the tree he was removing struck the lift truck, knocking him from the bucket.

Lance Newton, 50, of Shinglehouse, was the health and physical-education teacher at Oswayo Valley School District, as well as the operator of Newton Boys Tree Service in Shinglehouse. He also was retired from the Army, where he had earned the rank of major.

The incident happened at the Eulalia Cemetery, across the street from the fire department.

A crew from the tree-service company was removing the top of a pine tree when the large top fell, broke a large limb that was serving as the anchor point and struck the fully extended boom, ejecting Newton from the bucket as it collapsed to the ground.

Newton died from blunt-force trauma, according to the Olean Times Herald report.

Tree-service operator dies on the job

Robert Leroy Keethler, III, 30, of Georgetown, Ohio, died July 18, 2020, in a tree-trimming accident. He was the owner and operator of Keethler Tree and Lawn Service.

No details on the accident were reported in the News Democrat obituary.

Tree worker killed in struck-by

A man died July 20, 2020, in Holland, Michigan, after part of the tree he was cutting down fell on him.

The man, a 40-year-old from Pullman, Mich., worked for a Fennville-based tree-service company. He was cutting down the tree when a large part of it fell and hit him on the upper torso and head. He died at the scene.

His name wasn’t immediately released, according to WOOD TV8 and Holland Sentinel reports.

Man electrocuted while cutting trees

A man was electrocuted while cutting trees July 23, 2020, in a backyard in Port Charlotte, Florida.

Either the man’s saw, the bucket truck he was in or his body made contact with a power line.

The victim was working for a landscaping company at the time of the incident, according to the NBC2 WBBH-TV report.

Operator hurt when crane tips

The operator of a crane being used in a tree removal July 23, 2020, in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was hurt when the crane tipped and collapsed onto a vacant house.

A tree crew was working to bring down a big tree when it started to rain. The crane tilted and fell to its left onto a house being developed. Part of the crane’s arm also hit another home. The people who live in the second home were able to get out safely. The crane operator suffered an injury to his arm and was taken to the hospital, according to KYW Newsradio and The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

City worker killed in struck-by

A city worker was killed while cutting down a tree July 27, 2020, at Brazos Park East in Waco, Texas. City workers were cutting a large tree down when a piece of the tree fell on Robert Ochoa, 59, of Waco, killing him, according to a Waco Tribune-Herald report.

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