Tree limb pins man for hours

Monday, October 18, 2004

A Chaffee, Mo., man was pinned to a tree for nearly three hours Sunday while 27 area firefighters and paramedics carefully extricated him.

Around 10:15 a.m. at 1934 County Road 261 near Arbor, Glenndon Kennedy, 29, was helping a friend cut a limb from an oak tree for firewood. The limb broke when he was halfway through, he said, and the top of the limb hit the ground and bounced, causing the broken end to spring up and pin Kennedy against the trunk of the tree.

Friends did not initially call for assistance. Instead, for nearly an hour they tried to free him.

Delta firefighters received the call at 11:13 a.m., arriving at the scene five minutes later, and immediately medics administered IVs to stabilize his condition. Cape Girardeau firefighters rigged a harness and haul line on Kennedy to prevent him from falling when the limb was removed. In the meantime, Jackson and Cape Girardeau firefighters rigged a lifting device to remove the limb.

Kennedy remain conscious the entire time, Delta firefighters said. He was removed at 1:05 p.m. and was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Cape Girardeau. He was treated for a broken thumb and hypothermia.

"I'm lucky," Kennedy said from his hospital bed. "I could have lost both my legs right there." He had lost circulation in his right leg, he said, and his right foot was still numb by Sunday evening.

Kennedy had been pinned at the hips by a tree limb that was nearly 20 inches in diameter and weighed over one and a half tons. Precautions needed to be taken to reduce possible complications, such as shock, that can arise when people are immobilized by heavy objects, Delta firefighters said.

jmetelski@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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