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Man killed in wood-chipping accident was decapitated

January 13, 2012 |  8:36 am

A Northern California man who was decapitated in a wood-chipping accident Thursday appears to have gotten stuck in rope while feeding something into the industrial-sized machine, authorities said.

Friends identified the victim as Martin Lara of Applegate, a foothill community about 45 minutes northeast of Sacramento.

Nevada County Chief Deputy Coroner Paul Schmidt told The Union newspaper of Grass Valley that a rope became wrapped around Lara's neck and beheaded him.

It does not appear that his body actually entered the wood-chipper, which was a large machine capable of processing full-size trees.

Brian Bixler, a wood-chip operator, said that the wood-chipping machines create a force that sucks brush in and it can be impossible to escape unless a worker's hand is on a shut-off switch.

"If it gets you and you don't have control of this bar, then there is no way of stopping it," he said.

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-- Fox 40 Sacramento

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