Chainsaw kills man

2008-10-10 00:00

A man died in the arms of his co-workers yesterday after he slipped and was severely injured by the chainsaw he was using to fell trees.

Mthokozisi Chonco (23) was cutting down a tree when he slipped and fell on top of a chainsaw, which slashed his collarbone and neck. Fellow workers tried in vain to save him by stopping the blood that was gushing from the gash in his neck.

It was a normal working day for the employees of Siyanisa Timber Company, who were felling trees in a plantation near Blackridge, Pietermaritzburg. Chonco was a qualified tree feller and had undergone training in tree felling.

The accident happened at about 10 am. Siyanisa supervisor Msongelwa Dladla said Chonco shouted for his assistant to help him when he fell.

“He had begun cutting the tree and he circled to finish it off. He then slipped and the chainsaw became entangled in his shirt. When he fell the chainsaw dug into his neck. His hand got stuck in the chainsaw and it continued to saw through his collarbone and neck.”

His assistant rushed to his rescue and switched off the chainsaw and ran away crying with anguish.

Other employees rushed to help Chonco, who was bleeding profusely from the gash in his neck.

“We tried everything we could, he was bleeding non-stop. I lifted his head and held his arm up to stop the bleeding, and he looked at me for a while, but closed his eyes afterwards. Because the area was a slope we decided to carry him down to the road, where we tried to stabilise him, but he died in our arms … ” said Dladla.

The traumatised employees admitted that their job is dangerous, but said it was the first time anyone had been cut in the neck. “We have had injuries, but mostly in the feet and lower body. This was shocking,” said an employee who wished to remain anonymous.

Chris Botha of Netcare 911 said the artery in Chonco’s neck was severed, and he quickly bled to death before paramedics arrived.

The owner of the company, who did not want his name in the paper, rushed to the scene when he was called by the other employees. “It’s a tragic thing to happen. Chonco was a good employee and he was qualified for his job. It’s a great loss. Each employee is important to me because of the contribution each makes.” Dladla said Chonco was a “respectful and hardworking young man”.

When the police arrived on the scene, they cleaned the blood from his body and took it to the mortuary.

Police spokeswoman Joey Jeevan said an inquest will be held to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Tax Compliance Officer

Cape Town
Mass Staffing Projects
R280 000 - R300 000 Per Year

Sales Representative

Cape Town
Pax Staffing Dynamix (Pty) Ltd
R8 000 - R25 000 Per Month

Mobile Developer

Cape Town
Goldman Tech Resourcing
R360 000 - R480 000 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.