Tree service worker left dangling 40 feet in the air after logging incident takes a couple Aleve, calls it a day

  • Mike Hess stands on a log that he was cutting down Wednesday. A reported logging incident left him dangling 40 feet in the air, a neighbor said. (Ruth Schneider — The Times-Standard)

  • Humboldt Bay Fire and City Ambulance were called to the scene of the logging incident Wednesday morning. (Ruth Schneider — The Times-Standard)

  • Humboldt Bay Fire and City Ambulance were called to the scene of the logging incident Wednesday morning. (Ruth Schneider — The Times-Standard)

  • Mike Hess lowered himself to the ground and accepted a few Aleve from a neighbor after the incident. (Ruth Schneider — The Times-Standard)

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A man walked away from a logging accident that scanner traffic indicated left him dangling briefly about 40-feet in the air, according to scanner traffic.

Mike Hess, owner of Hess Tree Service, was working at a home on O Street, near Sonoma Street, in Eureka late Wednesday morning cutting down a tree that was damaged in the recent storms when a log did not fall as expected, jarring him and leaving him dangling, said neighbor Heidi Rubalcava, who said she watched the incident occur.

Rubalcava said his head jerked one way and his body went the other direction as he was maneuvering around the tree.

“For a minute there was no sound and I thought he was dead,” she said. “Then there was screaming. Then all of a sudden he said he was going to come down. I couldn’t believe it.”

When the Times-Standard arrived, Hess was already on the ground and talking to members of Humboldt Bay Fire. After the first responders left the scene, Hess accepted a bag of ice and a few Aleve from Rubalcava, who called her “his hero.”

“The goal of the day was just to get it down to roof level,” he said. “But I think I fell short of the goal. I’m just a little too sore to go back out.”

“60-years-old and being up there is getting to be a little too much,” he said. “I love doing it.”

He said he saw the tree falling in “his mind’s eye.”

“When the tree went, it had me and my saw in it and it just pulled me,” he said.

He said he was “plenty tied in” and lowered himself down.

“I’ll live to take another tree down,” he said.

The branches that were strewn across the yard will be taken to Fairhaven and used by the biomass plant. Smaller branches, Hess said, will be turned into wood chips.

Hess decided to take the rest of the day off, he said.

Humboldt Bay Fire did not respond to a request for information about the incident on Wednesday.

Ruth Schneider can be reached at 707-441-0520.

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