Dreadful Accident

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
That's similar to what happened to Pete Donzelli. Petes tree was live but the groundies didn't let the top run. They locked it off and the stem broke below like in this vid


Well-Known Member
Wow, 4 and 1/2 wraps seems very excessive! Does anyone know the tree species?

The tree breaking out from under the climber is probably one of my greatest fears.
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Well-Known Member
Wow very unfortunate, these guys were in way over their heads, way too big of a piece to be rigging down on a dead tree and shock loading that he paid the ultimate price. Experience, training and knowledge would of likely helped, none the less, newer guys learn from this! Your ground guys shouldn't be the least trained on the crew! I'm blessed to have very very great guys who can run ropes and know the mechanics of a tree.


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I'm not 100% sure if it's the same video that dr ball showed last year at TCIA in one of his talks but it sure looks it. I seem to remember the video was taken by a high school tour group visiting the site fore the day. And I though he said the guy didn't die, he didn't get up and walk away but...
the way i remember the story was there was a sign that prevented (Easily movable) the crew from felling the whole thing.
I could be wrong, but that video and commentary seems like it came from the TCIA session.

NE Tree

Well-Known Member
Dr. Ball is an awesome guy. I met him and sat through his safety session just a month or two ago. I've seen several of his safety seminars, they are all very informative to say the least.


Well-Known Member
And no one has mentioned choice of rope... and anchor point placement... was this tree side loaded with 4.5 wraps..

At least with true blue you get some stretch in the line...

I teach that anything more than 3 wraps is locking it off...

One of the best parts of working in a bucket is not having the thought ..."if this tree fails when I make this cut, my last breath will be taken shortly thereafter"

In looking at the video again, the tree took a hard impact from the hit. The failure was slightly above the impact point, maybe 5'. Seems like it would be more likely to fail at the impact point, but maybe not... wonder how much the failure was due to the hit and shake from impact rather than just the force loding the line...