Tutor is latest forestry victim

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 08:34 27/08/2014
tree

TREE FALL: A tutor was injured when a tree fell on him during a forestry lesson.

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A forestry tutor is in a serious condition after he was crushed by a tree he was felling while teaching a class in Marlborough.

The 40-year-old man was cutting down an old man pine tree at a farm on Tyntesfield Rd, Waihopai Valley, when the accident happened about 11am yesterday.

Fairfax understands the was crushed by a branch after the tree fell in the wrong direction, leaving him with injuries to his chest and legs.

It is the second felling incident in Marlborough in the past week.

A 30-year-old man seriously injured his legs and back when he fell 15m while cutting down a 100-year-old gum tree at Duncannon Backpackers and Worker Accommodation in Riverlands, south of Blenheim, on Friday.

There is growing concern about the high number of accidents in the forestry industry nationwide, including an inquest by coroner Dr Wallace Bain which started in May.

The forestry tutor works for the Waiariki Institute of Technology, in Rotorua, but is based in Marlborough.

The course operates out of the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology campus on Budge St, in Blenheim.

A Waiariki Institute of Technology spokeswoman said the man, originally from Taupo, has been in the forestry industry for more than 20 years.

He moved to Marlborough when he took over the job as tutor for the forestry course last month , the spokeswoman said.

Seven Marlborough students on the 16-week course were doing a practical exercise on a farm where they were to watch the tree being felled then cut the wood for firewood.

It was too early to say if the man would recover in time to continue teaching the course, the spokeswoman said.

The course would continue with a new tutor if needed, she said.

Waiariki Institute of Technology was investigating the incident to find out what had happened.

"Our main concern is that he receives support and treatment to aid his recovery, and that any effects on the students are managed appropriately."

Renwick volunteer fire brigade senior station officer Grant Flynn said the man was trapped under a big limb hanging off the tree, which was squashing his leg and shoulder, for about 30 minutes.

Firefighters used cutters to cut parts of the branch away in order to drag him out on a stretcher. They couldn't use a chainsaw because of the vibrations, Flynn said.

The forestry students helped clear away the branches while firefighters worked to free the man.

He was treated at the scene by a St John Ambulance paramedic and an Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter onboard paramedic, before being flown to Nelson Hospital with chest and leg injuries about noon.

A hospital spokeswoman said yesterday the man was in a serious but stable condition.

WorkSafe New Zealand is investigating the incident.

A hospital spokeswoman said yesterday the arborist hurt at Duncannon Backpackers on Friday remained in Wairau Hospital in Blenheim in a stable condition.

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- The Marlborough Express

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