Tree topples and dumps Durban woodcutter onto fence spike

2013-08-29 00:00

CITY tree-feller Phillip Ngcobo believes he cheated death by an inch when his thigh became impaled on a fence, after the tree he was cutting toppled over.

Ngcobo was working on Henry Pennington Road (Richmond Road) in Pinetown on Monday afternoon when the accident occurred.

Details of the accident and the extent of Ngcobo’s injuries are sketchy at this stage, as he is still in the St Augustine’s Hospital intensive care unit and has been unable to give a full account of the events.

During a short interview with The Witness, Ngcobo said he and his colleagues were sent to the area to remove a tree that was reportedly obstructing roadside works.

“On our arrival I climbed the tree and started cutting the branches overhanging on the road. Suddenly there was a commotion and I heard people screaming. As I was trying to make sense of what was happening, I realised that the tree was moving and it was too late for me to do anything,” said Ngcobo.

He said the tree uprooted, knocking him onto the fence. “As the tree was falling, I fell to the ground and the huge branches came crashing on top of me.”

Ngcobo was knocked unconscious and did not know he had been impaled on the fence until he woke up in hospital.

“I have a nasty hole in my left thigh. I have worked for the municipality for 25 years now, and yes I’ve been involved in minor accidents before, but nothing like this,” he said.

Martina Nicholson, spokesperson for St Augustine’s, said the hospital could not give out any more information on the incident, as Ngcobo was still in intensive care.

In a text message to The Witness on Tuesday, head of the Metro Parks and Recreation Thembinkosi Ngcobo confirmed the incident.

Contacted again yesterday morning for details of the accident, he said the employee was in a stable condition, but that he had no more details on the incident. He said he didn’t know the exact spot where the accident happened.

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