A tree trimmer has died after getting caught underneath heavy fronds on a palm in Mesa.
Fire Capt. Forest Smith says the man was unresponsive when firefighters arrived after being called Wednesday morning to a home where a trimming crew was working in the backyard.
The man was part of a landscaping crew hired to work on trimming this palm tree and others in the yard of a private residence, authorities said.
Smith says the trimmer had used a belt and spikes to climb the tree and was about 35 feet up in the tree when he got caught by the weight of the fronds.
The homeowner was asked to call 911 by co-workers when they saw the landscaper trapped under the fallen skirt of fronds.
Smith says firefighters used a ladder truck to reach the body.
Cause of death wasn't immediately known, but Smith says the weight of fronds can suffocate a person.
The dead man's identity was not immediately released.
The Mesa Fire Department provided this statement and explanation of these type of accidents:
"The vast majority of suffocation accidents are the result of fronds sliding down, or sloughing, onto the climber. Just a few feet of fronds can instantly and completely immobilize a climber. There is absolutely nothing he or she can do to remove them because their entire body is forced down and against the palm trunk with hundreds of pounds of pressure. The force of the fronds is primarily on the head of the climber, forcing the chin into the chest or on the chest, pushing him backwards. This is how suffocation occurs."
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation) contributed to this report.
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