An arborist’s leg has been severed after a length of rope, which was wrapped around his leg, was caught in a woodchipper, north-west of Sydney.
A 51-year-old man was cutting down a tree at a Wilberforce property in the Hawkesbury area about 11:00am on Monday.
A loose rope coiled near his leg became tangled in a woodchipper some metres away, pulling the tension tightly enough to sever his leg beneath the knee.
The man suffered significant blood loss but first responders said the quick first aid of his colleagues helped him in the immediate aftermath.
“The moment the leg went flying through the air, the quick actions of others meant they were able to grab and preserve it,” a CareFlight spokeswoman said.
NSW Police officers arrived on the scene and tied a tourniquet below the man’s knee, which “significantly increased his chances of survival”, the spokeswoman said.
CareFlight’s doctor and NSW Ambulance’s paramedics treated the man in preparation for his transportation to Westmead Hospital, some 35 kilometres away.
On the ambulance ride to the hospital, medical experts performed a blood and plasma transfusion on the man.
Paramedics also stopped to buy ice from a petrol station to preserve the man’s severed leg during the 25-minute drive.
“We made the decision to transport the patient by road as it was easier to continue treatment to the patient,” CareFlight’s Chris Cheeseman said.
“It also allowed us the opportunity to pick up the ice.”
The man went into surgery upon his arrival at Westmead Hospital and is now in a stable condition.
“Without the quick actions of the bystanders, including the police, ambulance response, and CareFlight rapid response helicopter response, the man’s condition could be much worse,” the spokeswoman said.
Damon Anderson from NSW Ambulance said people shouldn’t underestimate the danger of a worksite.
“Incidents like this can be extremely complex and it shows just how quickly any situation can change,” he said.