By Joe King, [email protected]

Rescuers transport victim to ambulance. (the Herald / News Sentinel)

Rescuers transport victim to ambulance. (the Herald / News Sentinel)

A man who was hanging 25 feet in the air from a tree in South Knox County had to be rescued by local agencies Monday morning.

The man, whose identity has not yet been released, was working a tree trimming job at 2201 Tomassee Dr., when part of the branch gave out.

Co-workers’ statements indicated the man was in the tree for about 20 minutes before the accident occurred, but could have been dangling from the harness for about one hour before rescuers were able to safely bring him to the ground.

According to Knoxville Rescue Squad Deputy Chief John Whited, the man was in “grave condition” when he was lowered from the tree.

Whited said to rescue the man a system of pulleys and ropes had to be set-up with an anchor that was placed higher up in the tree.

Whited explained that the deliverance of the man posed problematic at times, as the ladder on the fire truck was 24-feet and rescuers had to climb parts of the tree as well.

“It was hard to get access to where he was,” Whited said.

Although Whited did say the rescued man appeared to be unresponsive, he couldn’t give further information regarding his status or any visible signs of injury without violating HIPPA laws.

According to some accounts, the incident happened when the man was cutting a second limb from a forked tree about 40 feet in the air when the 15-inch-diameter limb splintered, which caused him to become pressed against the remaining part of the branch.

While the extent of the man’s condition is not yet known, one possible scenario is that he suffered from “harness syndrome” as a result of being pressed against the tree. Harness Syndrome, also known as Suspension Trauma, or orthostatic intolerance, is an effect which occurs when the human body is held upright without any movement for a period of time. If the person is strapped into a harness or tied to an upright object they will eventually suffer the central ischemic response (commonly known as fainting). If one faints but remains vertical, one risks death due to one’s brain not receiving the oxygen it requires.

Immediately after the rescue, the unidentified man was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center by Rural/Metro Ambulance Service. His condition has not yet been made available.

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