22 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by cabanasalon
Patch Instagram photo by cabanasalon

Man Helping Cut Down Trees Dies After Branch Hits His Head

The victim and two coworkers were working for the Ed Isakson-Alpharetta Family YMCA when the accident happened.

Man Helping Cut Down Trees Dies After Branch Hits His Head

A 41-year-old Doraville man died a day after part of a tree he was helping to cut down struck him on his head.

Misael Soriano Elorza was working with two other Downey Tree employees at the Ed Isakson-Alpharetta Family YMCA on the morning of April 26 to cut down some trees in the area, according to an Alpharetta Department of Public Safety incident report. His coworker, Feliciano Garcia, had been cutting a large tree at its base when it fell and hit Elorza, who was trying to guide the tree down with help from fellow Downey Trees employee Samuel Lunsford.

As the tree came down, it broke in half and hit Elorza in the head from behind. The large tree had a Y-shaped branch that broke in half and struck Elorza.
The force of the blow knocked him backwards into the creek and he was submerged. Garcia and Lunsford pulled him out of the creek and onto the bank, where emergency personnel started CPR.

All three men were wearing protective gear, including helmets, when the tree came down. Elorza's cracked helmet was sent with him to North Fulton Hospital for doctors to examine.

The YMCA is next to the Big Creek Greenway.

According to AJC.com, the Fulton County Medical Examiner confirmed that Elorza died after being injured by the tree limb.

Investigators from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration took over the investigation the same morning.

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