Trimmer dies when caught under palm fronds - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Trimmer dies when caught under palm fronds

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MESA, Ariz. -

The man who died was a professional landscaper who had climbed the palm tree wearing a harness and spiked shoes for safety, but when he started trimming the tree, the fronds collapsed on him -- and he could not make it out.

Mesa fire crews worked 35 feet in the air to recover the body on Wednesday.

The homeowner spotted the man pinned under the heavy palm fronds -- and he wasn't moving.

"He went outside to find there was a great deal of palm fronds on the ground -- and as he looked up, he saw that there was someone stuck in a tree," said Capt. Forest Smith.

The man's co-workers could only look on until firefighters got to the scene, but there was nothing rescue crews could do.

"The weight from that which can weigh several hundreds of pounds, depending on how many feet of fronds you have can result in death and are typically fatal," explained Smith.

Family members got word of the accident and are devastated after hearing the man, who was in his 40s, did not survive his injuries.

Fire crews say palm tree trimming can be very dangerous if the fronds collapse on top of a trimmer.

"If you could only imagine putting your hand behind your head and then pressing your head against your chest and then try breathing from there - that pressure that you feel from the chest, just from that slight pressure -- now imagine hundreds of pounds and really you take away any chance of survival from that," said Smith.

The medical examiner's office will perform an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

OSHA will also be investigating to try and find out what went wrong.

The man's identity has not been released.

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