Harwich: Man seriously injured in freak accident when tree surgeon falls from ladder crushing colleague
22:31 17 February 2014
A man was seriously injured yesterday after a freak accident.
The man in his 70s was working at a property in Rectory Road in the village of Little Oakley, near Harwich, when the accident took place around 10.40am.
The tree surgeon was standing on the bottom rung of a ladder at the top of which a colleague was sawing a tree, when his colleague fell from a height of 20 feet and landed on top of him.
The patient had to be flown to Addenbrooke’s Hospital trauma centre by the Essex Air Ambulance.
Steve Box, a paramedic officer who attended the scene, said the man who fell from the ladder was treated at the scene for a minor back injury. However the man in his 70s suffered multiple head, chest and arm injuries.
Bob Mitchell, on whose property the injured men were working, said the man had suffered a broken arm, dislocated shoulder, collapsed lung, injuries to the kidneys and a gash in his forehead.
Mr Mitchell had asked the tree surgeons to top the tree as he was afraid it was going to fall onto a power cable.
“Last week in the high winds the whole of the root system was coming up and as the rain got heavier and the wind got strong, it was going towards the electric cable,” he said.
Mr Mitchell said the tree surgeons had cut into the tree trunk to ensure that the top of the tree would fall a particular way, however when they tied a rope to it and pulled it failed to come away.
He said when one of them climbed back up the ladder to cut further into the tree trunk the timber snapped and struck the tree surgeon.
“The force of it knocked him off, and he came down the ladder, sort of parallel with the ladder, I think he bounced off the ladder,” said Mr Mitchell. “But there was another guy at the bottom standing on the bottom rung and he got flattened.
“We’re talking broken arm, dislocated shoulder, collapsed lung, kidneys were a problem apparently when they did tests, and he had a big gash in his forehead which was pumping blood for a while.”
Mr Mitchell praised the quick response of the emergency services. Mr Box, of the East of England Ambulance service said the air ambulance had been able to administer critical care “just in time”.
Last night the man was believed to be in a stable condition at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.