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Tree trimmer killed after trapped under palm fronds is identified

September 23, 2012 | 11:02 am

A tree trimmer who was killed when he was pinned under collapsing palm fronds was identified Sunday as a Van Nuys resident.

Gerson Hernandez, 27, was trimming a palm tree in the 1400 block of North Martel Avenue in Hollywood on Saturday when he was trapped under the fronds, which can weigh up to half a ton, authorities said. The exact cause of death has not been determined.

“In these scenarios, the tree trimmer can be crushed, asphyxiated or have their neck broken,” said Brian Humphrey, spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Hernandez was about 30 feet above the ground at the time of the accident.

According to a Los Angeles Times article from 2006, “tree workers have a fatality rate three or four times that of police officers and firefighters,” according to John Ball, a South Dakota State University forestry professor. “Your odds of being killed in this industry are one in 3,000,” he said.

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