Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cut down

I have been noticing a lot of accidental deaths by way of trees in the news lately, so I rounded them up for the last 6 months. Coincidentally, a grave marker in the shape of a truncated tree stump symbolizes a life cut short. We begin with a most dramatic account:

Lynda Collins, a 45-year-old wife and mother of 3, was walking home in Dublin, Ireland, on 2/3/11 when the 100mph winds felled a tree which pinned her to the ground. A witness describes what he saw before paramedics arrived and tried in vain to save her life on the way to the hospital: "I ran outside and people were starting to run away. There was a car that the tree had landed on that was trying to back away. Then they realized that somebody was actually under the tree. I mean it landed on this girl. Everybody came running from all over trying to hold the tree in place and comfort the girl. It was a matter of trying to make sure the weight wasn't crushing her. It was too big for anybody to move and they were just trying to hold it in place."

Gayle Falgoust, a 70-year-old Alabama resident, was killed instantly when a tree fell during a storm on 12/29/10 as she read and relaxed in a luxury platform tent with her granddaughter at a nature preserve in California (2nd image).

Jalisa Granger, 24, died protecting her toddler son from a tornado that struck their Louisiana town on 3/5/11, sending a tree crashing down on their house and destroying 100 other homes (3rd image).

John Larson, 55-year-old resident of Maine, was killed on 11/23/11 when the base of the 40' tree he was cutting down with a chainsaw snapped and hit him in the head. Larson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mallori Kastner, an 18-year-old Northern Indiana University freshman, was killed when the rotted tree that was supporting the hammock on which she sat with a friend collapsed on 9/20/10.

McKinley Martin, a Mississippi logger, was killed on the job on 1/8/11 - his 39th birthday - when a tree on which the crew had not been working fell on him from behind while he was eating his lunch.

Frank Meager, 33, of Minnesota, was killed in Iowa on 2/11/11 when a tree he was cutting down fell on him. Officials say Meager was a subcontractor working to clear the right-of-way for a pipeline company.

Elmaz Qyra, a 46-year-old Brooklyn man, was walking in Central Park on 2/25/10 when a heavy branch weighted with snow broke off from an estimated height of 80' and struck him on the head (1st image).

Tad James Reid, 47-year-old father of 2 teenagers, was pronounced dead on his Washington State property on 3/5/10 when he was found pinned beneath a maple tree he was cutting down.

Billy "Bud" Rhynalds, 66-year-old veteran employee of the Washington State Department of Transportation, was placing safety cones on Highway 203 to warn of power lines downed by a 1/15/11 storm when a tree fell on his truck, striking him fatally in the back of the head.

David A. Sheldon, 57, died in Oregon on 12/14/10 when high winds brought down a tree on the van in which he was sleeping.
Diane Walker, a 55-year-old resident of Washington State, was killed in her sleep on 12/14/10 when a tree came down on her mobile home during a storm, though her friend and adult son were unhurt.

This does not include the unidentified men killed by trees in Iowa on 11/18/10, Northern Territory, Australia, on 12/3/10, New Jersey on 12/8/10, Washington, D.C., on 1/26/11, New South Wales, Australia, on 2/4/11, Staffordshire, England, on 3/2/11, and Surrey, Canada, on 3/2/11. It also does not include auto fatalities that resulted from collisions with trees. Be careful out there.

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