CA Firefighters Rescue Tree Trimmer Stuck in Palm Tree

Firefighters rescued an injured tree trimmer Thursday evening after the man became stuck about 60 to 70 feet in the air.

Alex Riggins

The San Diego Union-Tribune

(MCT)

Firefighters rescued an injured tree trimmer Thursday evening after the man became stuck about 60 to 70 feet in the air when dead palm fronds collapsed on his rigging and leg, authorities said.

The man became stuck about 6:45 p.m. while trimming a Mexican fan palm at a home on Samantha Lane off Sweetwater Road, according to Battalion Chief Justin Fuller from San Miguel Fire & Rescue.

Fuller called it a “really difficult” and “pretty technical” rescue that required firefighters on two ladders to work together. One group of firefighters were in a bucket at the top of one ladder securing the tree trimmer, while another firefighter was at the top of the other ladder freeing the compressed rope that was holding the tree trimmer down.

Palm Tree Rescues: Hazards for Victims and Responders

Crews were also racing the setting sun, trying to complete the rescue before darkness made it even more difficult, according to Fuller.

The victim suffered moderate injuries to his right leg, which had become pinned under some of the large, dead fronds hanging below the living fronds at the top of the tree, Fuller said.

Though the man’s harness had tightened some when the fronds came down on his rope, he remained upright and able to breathe throughout the rescue, an effort that lasted about an hour, Fuller said.

Thursday’s rescue was at least the fourth rescue of a trapped tree trimmer since July 2017 in San Diego County. In 2019, a man fell about 50 feet to his death while trimming a palm tree in La Jolla.

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

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