A climber who was injured while topping a conifer tree was rescued after being stranded 80 feet in the air on June 27, 2020, in Lakeview, Idaho.
The climber was cutting the top of the tree when it either broke free early or went the wrong way, or both, and struck him. The tree was described by investigators as “rotted.”
The impact broke the man’s right arm and leg. The climber, who was wearing a harness, was secured to the damaged tree by a co-worker.
A helicopter was called to rescue the man, but there was concern that rotor wash from the helicopter would topple the tree.
Selkirk Fire Rescue & EMS conducted a high-angle rescue with webbing and pulleys. The injured climber was transferred to Selkirk’s rope system and lowered to the ground. He was taken to Lake Pend Oreille, where a Timberlake Fire District boat picked him up. The man was later transferred to a Bonner County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol vessel and ultimately flown from the scene by Life Flight Network.
The man was stranded in the treetop for approximately two hours. The rescue took 40 to 45 minutes, according to a Bonner County Daily Bee report.