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Rotten branch cause of fatal tree fall

PUBLISHED: 08:37 16 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:39 03 March 2010

A FREAK accident is thought to have brought a tree surgeon crashing to the ground when he unwittingly harnessed himself to a rotten branch.

It is believed the branch snapped as he worked in a mature beech tree and he fell and was trapped underneath and causing fatal injuries.

A FREAK accident is thought to have brought a tree surgeon crashing to the ground when he unwittingly harnessed himself to a rotten branch.

It is believed the branch snapped as he worked in a mature beech tree and he fell and was trapped underneath and causing fatal injuries.

A teenage worker who was with the 30-year-old victim witnessed the horrific accident at New Lodge Farm, Weeting near Brandon on Saturday. He is thought to have raised the alarm.

Police and the Health and Safety Executive have launched an investigation into the tragic accident.

Firefighters were called to free the casualty's body from under the bough in a wooded area the farm. The dead man was hired by the farm's occupant to carry out work on the tree and he said the worker was a qualified tree surgeon and the branch he had strapped himself to in order to cut another bough looked perfectly sound.

"There was no way of knowing it was rotten," added the man, who was too distressed to comment any further on the tragedy.

The victim has not yet been named by police but officers say he lived locally.

Fire crews from Brandon, Thetford and nearby Methwold were called to the scene at 10.25am on Saturday. The Thetford crew, led by Station Officer Richard Dromey, stayed there for some time, helping to free the man's body.

Another tree surgeon was needed to cut away some of the wood from the bough which was trapping the dead man before his body could be freed.

Sub Officer Alan Prior, from Thetford Fire Station, said: "We used airbags and wedges to lift the tree up and free the victim."

A Norfolk police spokesman said: "At approximately 10.15am on Saturday a 30-year-old local man died following an accident at a farm near Weeting.

"The Health and Safety Executive and police are jointly investigating the circumstances of his death. Our thoughts rest with his family at this very sad time."

A spokesman for the East Anglian Ambulance Service said a road crew and the air ambulance were sent to the incident, but the helicopter was stood down by the land crew prior to its arrival.

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