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Another fatality: Arborist found dead while hanging near Walhalla

Discussion in 'Arboricultural Injuries and Fatalities' started by pdqdl, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. pdqdl

    pdqdl Old enough to know better.

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    I stumbled across this on the local news.

    http://www.kctv5.com/story/32368598...t-found-dead-while-hanging-near-walhalla-home

    From what I can gather in the very limited news report, this guy was working by himself and died from suspension injury after being knocked out. Others might find a better report or know more about this.

    Really guys. Quit working by yourself. If nothing else bring your wife/girl friend/children along just to call the rescue team.
     
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  2. derwoodii

    derwoodii Tree Freak

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    The coroner identified the victim as David Wayne Vaughn, 57, of Walhalla.

    57 yold and 70 foot up impressive, foolish but impressive,,, hope he went peacefully & as he might hoped too meet his end,, up a tree.

    its hard to tell but dont look to be 70 foot grove of trees,, still 70 or 7 foot up loss of consciousness upside down alone & i think much depends but you got 5 to 30 minutes before kaput..

    10911050_G.jpg
     
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  3. Woos31

    Woos31 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Rest easy sir and wishing peace and understanding to the family.
     
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  4. TomFalater

    TomFalater New Member

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    I lived in that area and knew David. He was an independent type, very strong. Rest in peace David. Tom Falater
     
  5. Del_

    Del_ 1N73LL1G3NC3 15 7H3 4B1L17Y 70 4D4P7 70 CH4NG3.

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    http://dripline.net/arborist-found-dead-tree-70-feet/


    Arborist found dead in a tree 70 feet up
    July 4, 2016July 5, 2016 thedutchone 0 Comments rescued, struck by, trapped, tree care professional, working alone

    Oconee County, SC — 57 year old David Wayne Vaughn was found dead up a tree suspended in his climbing harness. Vaughn was a self-employed arborist, who was trimming and cutting down a tree on private property. He arrived at the house at 8 a.m. to begin work on the tree. The homeowners walked outside to check on Vaughn when they didn’t hear the sound of sawing for awhile. The Pickett Post-Camp Oak Fire Department was called just after 1 p.m. to rescue Vaughn from the tree. Rescuers found they could not reach Vaughn via the ladder truck, so they set up a high-angle rope system. Once they reached him it was determined that Vaughn was dead. He was then lowered to the ground.

    UPDATE: According to an autopsy conducted on Tuesday, Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis called the death accidental caused by positional asphyxiation. Vaughn had got his upper leg trapped in the fork of the tree he was up. He also received a minor head injury, probably from a falling limb. The homeowner had called 911 around 1pm to tell authorities that Vaughn had got his upper leg caught in the fork of the tree. Vaughn worked for about an hour to free himself from the tree. He did manage to remove his spikes and eventually free his leg. He had planned to lower himself out of the tree, but according to the homeowners eyewitness account, Vaughn became disoriented and then became unresponsive. Coroner Karl Addis then added in his report that Vaughn’s body arched back into a slightly inverted position, compromising his ability to breathe. Addis also said that the minor head injury along with Vaughn’s dehydration affected his ability to rescue himself. Vaughn was working alone on the property at the time of the accident.
     
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  6. ropensaddle

    ropensaddle Feel Lucky

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    I'm 54 and up 112 foot in 98 degrees am I foolish? Rip condolences to the family.
     
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  7. pdqdl

    pdqdl Old enough to know better.

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    Many folks regard all tree trimmers to be foolish. You don't work without any groundmen or anyone to watch do you?

    If so, perhaps you might wish to think of some way to get some emergency assistance. I am a bit older than you, and certainly don't work as high or hard as you do, but I ALWAYS have someone on the ground that can call for help.

    Besides, I know you love that raptor, and the height you are working at is kind of unimportant unless you happen to be hoisting your whole weight all the way from the ground up.
     
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  8. pdqdl

    pdqdl Old enough to know better.

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    The only foolish aspect of his tree work is working alone. On that account, I will agree with you.

    One of the finest climbers I have met was about 76 years old. Believe me, he knew how to do the work, and he didn't lack the strength or stamina to do it. I don't know how old he is now, but I think he still does some climbing, although he has slowed down a bit. I'm pretty sure he is over 80 by now. He is, by the way, one of the finest gentlemen I have ever met. I have great respect for him, not just his talent in a tree.
     
  9. ropensaddle

    ropensaddle Feel Lucky

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    I have always said 20 feet if you fall your just as dead as 100. It can be more fatiguing in the tall timber. Yeah after 29 years or so of body thrust, the wraptor and hass etc was money well spent. I however find it a tad harder to shed the gut in springtime, by using them!!
     
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  10. pdqdl

    pdqdl Old enough to know better.

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    I have not seen the Hass ascender before. Thanks for the tip.
    That is a bit pricey, though. I think I will splice up my own and cut the costs in 1/2.
     
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  11. Huskybill

    Huskybill ArboristSite Guru

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    We were taught in a fall you have the first two feet to do something after that gravity and speed take over.

    He was hanging did a large limb crush him?

    RIP brother. May god take you down the path.

    The national timber Fellers Association says ask yourself is what I’m about to do safe?
     
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  12. blades

    blades Addicted to ArboristSite

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    leg caught in fork- man that's one hard one to self correct depending positioning and if anything you can get a grab on to pull back to it if possible . Got pants leg caught once rest of me hanging below it semi horizontal, couldn't go up or down nothing much to grab ended up shedding my pants to get free enough to correct situation . scary
     
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  13. CacaoBoy

    CacaoBoy ArboristSite Member

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    I'm never going to do any serious climbing, and I am in awe of those who do. I can appreciate that this guy would want to work without a ground crew to avoid splitting payment for the job. And with the homeowner on site, there was some measure of safety. Since the article reports "Vaughn worked for about an hour to free himself from the tree" it sounds like the homeowner was aware of the problem for an hour before calling 911, and the homeowner and Vaughn presumably were able to communicate during that time.

    A question for those of you who climb alone: Do you have any kind of mutual aid agreement with a buddy who climbs, that if one of you gets in trouble you can call the other and that person will drop whatever is going on and come to the aid of of the one in distress?

    Are fire departments really trained and equipped to conduct rescues from tall trees, or by the time they get set up are they more likely to be doing a body recovery as in this case? If you were in trouble while up a tree (but not at risk of bleeding out), would you prefer to have the fire department respond or another climber?
     
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  14. pdqdl

    pdqdl Old enough to know better.

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    I would guess that aerial rescue is outside the talent & training of the average fire department across the country. Larger cities probably all have that nicely covered, and are probably prepared to travel a ways upon request.

    I did a pretty simple climb for a GTG down in Arkansas one time. It wasn't at all tricky, but I had already determined that anything resembling a rescue was many hours away. So I took extra time taking measures to make sure that my "groundmen" were trained & equipped to lower me out of the tree if something went south. I'm pretty sure they questioned my talent set, given my over-cautious approach. For me, it was just a case of knowing that if I screwed up in any way, nobody was going to be able to save me. So I made sure that I didn't.

    In response to your question? I suspect I would prefer a well qualified climber. Let 'em run up the tree and get me. Any decent climber knows how to lower a 300 log without wasting a lot of time. If I was caught up in some limbs that broke or fell badly, I'm certain a real tree climber with a sharp 200T would be the guy to have in the tree. I can just see a fireman on a ladder trying to get the job done with a 14" diameter rescue saw.
     
  15. 67L36Driver

    67L36Driver Tree Freak

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  16. teacherman

    teacherman Sawturated

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    Indeed. I carry a rock climbing belay device with me that could be used to lower a person already in a harness, for just this reason. I'm learning so much so quickly these days, that my standard setup will surely get some modifications in the near future.
     
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  17. pdqdl

    pdqdl Old enough to know better.

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    Technique is more important to go up the tree with than a bunch of extra gear. In a pinch, I could lower a man (or myself) safely with nothing more than a carabiner & a munter hitch.

    My regular equipment includes a bunch of loopies & 'biners clipped to a rescue-8. The purpose is to have organized tools when I want them. It's incidental that the rescue-8 doubles as a belay device in case I need to rig out something from above with extra friction.

     
  18. Huskybill

    Huskybill ArboristSite Guru

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    Things can go wrong so quickly. I block out everything in my mind and stay focused on the task at hand. Never work alone.
     

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