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Author Topic: my tree climber badly injuried - almost killed -graphic pictures <warning>  (Read 12745 times)

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Offline rebocardo

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The first guy I was working with got more seriously hurt while working on a school bus then he did his entire 30+ year career climbing trees. Slipped on wet bus steps, fell off and destroyed his ankle, pins, the whole nine yards. I ended up buying some of his chain saw stuff because he can not longer climb.

So, I found a second guy to do my climbing while i was still debating and saving for my own climbing gear. He was working out okay, but, just does not have the hang of making technical cuts.

So, we have been going slowly, but, surely. While I drill safety into his head I bought the best gear I could afford. 5/8" adjustable swivel steel flip line, Peltzel clips, real arborist ropes, etc.

I even bought him safety glasses and once I convinced him to use them, he liked them.  He was just used to a leather belt, spikes, and a rope flip line as climbing gear.

I been harping about how I wanted him to wear a helmet, he did not really want to. I pointed out that if he got injured he was probably going to be on his own until a rescue party came if he was 80 feet up. Plus, I mentioned more then once that a helmet was a good place for a diaper in case he ever badly cut himself in a tree.

I have been having him wear two flip lines (one rope, one steel) and tying off into one part of the tree with a flip line before removing the other to jump crotches etc. I try to have a min. of two lines up with him at any time so if stuff happens, he has at least one good escape line. That way he can throw over a crotch, if it is not there already, and get down fast if a problem develops.

Well, his brother in law wanted a tree down, they didn't wait for me, his BIL bought him a boat load of good equipment for taking down a tree for free. That tree went fine, he decided to do side work with his friends, big mistake.

While doing a tree leaning over a barn, they had removed all the branches from this dead tree, and decided to top a leaning tree and pull it away 180 degrees from the lean.  My common sense and experience would tell me this tree said death and barber chair all over it and you would only take it down in two foot chunks.

On ones where I thought it would barber chair, I wrapped the trunk in chain or sent a 6K or 10K strap or 1/4" cable for him to do the same.

Well, the property owner was pulling with a tractor and because they had miscalculated the distance needed for the pull, he stopped pulling before the top was pulled completely over because he did not want to hit his fence.

The top bounced back erect, barber chaired, and came down on my climber and his running saw. His arm was sideways and horizontal, so the running chainsaw came down and cut his arm, his ropes, one of his flip lines (not wire core), and his belt!

What saved him from dying in the tree from having his arm completely cut off and being cut out of the tree was his belt had a layer of steel mesh between the two leather halves. It stopped the chainsaw from cutting all the way down and off with his arm.

Everyone present was too scared to go up into the tree on a ladder or otherwise to help him. Luckily he still had a rope to spare and was able to rappel down slowly using one arm and his spikes. The fire department said he passed out three times on the way down (which he didn't realize at the time). Basically they stood under the tree to catch him, luckily his spikes held him up every time he fainted.

Only 33 and he almost lost his life and his arm. But, now he see the need for the safety equipment I usually wear (like chaps and helmets) and he has ordered a special jacket from Stihl that has the steel mesh in the sleeves that protect the whole arm.

















Offline rebocardo

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This happened almost two weeks ago, it has healed nicely so far. No health insurance. His one visit today cost $500 for the wound cleaning. The jacket that would have lessen this injury would have been $120.00

As I told him, I care about my safety very much and about the only thing that concerns me more, is his safety and he shouldn't have been topping a tree without a pro to help him or with people that cared more about a fence then his life  >:(

It looks like he will have most of his movement back in his hand, the doctor said he should be climbing again in 4-6 weeks. He can close his hands, he can't open his fingers all the way back up without using the other hand.


Offline Kevin

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He's very lucky.

Quote
pull it away 180 degrees from the lean.

I wonder how he thought this might work in the first place without the hinge breaking before the top was past him?

Offline rebocardo

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I do not know. Giving in to pressure or rushing probably had something to do with it.   :-\

I am just glad he is not hopelessly crippled or dead.


Offline Left Coast Chris

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What a terrible accident.  We will be praying that his arm will actually regain full use.....it might not.  :o :(
Home built cantilever head, 24 HP honda mill, Case 580D, MF 135 and one Squirel Dog Jack Russel Mix -- Crickett

Offline metalspinner

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Thanks for the warning on the pics!

Very sorry to here about your friend. I hope he has a full recovery.
I do what the little voices in my wife's head tell me to do.

Offline Ron Scott

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Yes, a very lucky person.
~Ron

Offline timber tramp

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  How's that arm healing up?            :) TT
Cause every good story needs a villan!

Offline Climber

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I can plunge my toilet, but I am not calling my self a plumber.
I can walk in the woods, but I am not calling my self a logger.
Who can climb up on a tree not yet THE climber?

I have a friend who has similar situation. Crew didn't manage to pull 40 feet top away. Top fall on him broke basket from arial device and send him down 50 feet. Fortunately he is ok. It was only one big mistake: no passions, rush.

Sorry for your guy. Wish well from as.

Offline rebocardo

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He is healing up well and has almost all the use of his arm and hands back. He has skipped rehab because he has no money for it, so I talked to him today about doing some finger and arm exercises to develop the nerves they sewed back together.

Learned today it cost him $8000 just for the single operation to sew his arm back together, I was surprised it was that cheap.

Offline timber tramp

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     Glad to hear he's healing up. Hopefully he comes away from this a little wiser.  ;) Some of the things I've learned really well, left a scar or two also.               :) TT
Cause every good story needs a villan!

Offline thecfarm

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I keep coming back to this thread.Even those the pictures bother me.That was,is,a terrible accident.He is in my thoughts and prayers.Too bad he does not have the insurance to go to rehab.That would be a big help for him.But you told him to to exercise his fingers and arm,that will be a big help. Just one little moment in life,and you have to live with it for the rest of your life.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline twobears

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 i don,t wanta give medical advice on the web so,i,ll just say this. he really needs to go to rehab..but,if he can,t he should atleast do as you told him.
 when,i sawed my forearm i did go to rehab.heres what we did.the first thing was to relax my hand with moist heat...a hot wet towel.i,de sit there with my hand wrapped up for 5 minutes or so.then i used a hand exercisor.the one i have uses rubber bands.you start up light and add bands as you gain strength in your hand.you also need to do exercise's for muscle control.one thing i used was a board with several golf tee,s in it.i also used a bolt with a nut on it for that..i held the bolt in my good hand and used my bad hand to put the nut on and off many times.
 at the time i had a old fire truck i was converting to a dump truck.i had to take the tank,pump off,ect.that is all bolted together..everyday i,de go out and take bolts out until my arm started to hurt..at first it was only two or three.i feel and my doc felt that was a good thing to do. i,ve came very well from my accident i hope he does too.

 delbert


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