Man trapped under tree is lucky to be alive

PUBLISHED: 14:54 20 November 2013 | UPDATED: 14:55 20 November 2013

An Otterton man cheated death by inches when a storm-damaged tree rolled on top of him.   Parish councillor Tony Bennett was cutting a damaged boughs from an ash tree at his Behind Hayes home on Sunday lunchtime when a large branch rolled down, trapping against a steep embankment.

An Otterton man cheated death by inches when a storm-damaged tree rolled on top of him. Parish councillor Tony Bennett was cutting a damaged boughs from an ash tree at his Behind Hayes home on Sunday lunchtime when a large branch rolled down, trapping against a steep embankment.

Archant

A man trapped under tree is lucky to be alive after it rolled on top of him.

An Otterton man cheated death when a storm-damaged tree rolled on top of him on Saturday lunchtime

The fire service said he fell from a tree and a ladder was keeping the tree off him, trapping him beneath, on a bank.

The man, who was left with multiple injuries, was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital by ambulance, where he remains.

Fire crew and the brigade’s Urban Search and Rescue team spent several hours stabilising the tree and freeing the trapped man.

A fire service spokesman said: “The casualty was pinned under a large section of an Ash tree weighing approximately three tons and about seven metres in length. This section of the tree had already fallen in previous gales the week before and was lying in a precarious position down a steep embankment.

“The casualty had pitched an eight metre ladder up the bank beside the tree and embarked upon trimming the branches along the trunk. When cutting through one large branch the tree rolled over destabilising the casualty on his ladder and rolled over the top of him.

“The casualty ended up pinned by his chest to the side of the steep bank.

“The ladder had been pushed under the tree supporting much of the weight and giving the casualty some respite from the weight of the tree. The casualties legs were through the rounds and free from entrapment.”

The fire service said while the tree looked stable, there was a real danger of it sliding down the bank.

Winches were used to secure the tree and lifting equipment was used while the casualty was freed.

The spokesman added: “Although the tree looked relatively stable in position there was still a danger of it sliding down the bank so white watch and retained crews from Exmouth set about securing it to other substantial trees using tirfor winches.

“The decision was made to support the lower end of the tree with a ladder and call the Urban Search and Rescue team to utilise their lifting equipment to support the tree whilst the casualty was extricated.

“Meanwhile the crews set about clearing undergrowth and branches from the immediate area to assist with access. The ambulance HART team arrived and set up their equipment.

“USAR crews set up another winch and ground anchors to assist with securing the top section of the tree. The USAR tele-handler was used to lift and stabilise the tree section and the casualty was carefully slid from under the tree up the bank onto a stretcher and secured. He was then transferred to a land ambulance with chest and shoulder injuries and conveyed to RD&E Exeter. Crews made the tree safe.”


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