SC: Hunter falls 20 feet from hunting stand, shatters back
October 21, 2010
Hunter falls 20 feet from hunting stand, shatters back
ROCK HILL, SC - Blake Coley is a hunter and lived every hunter's worst
nightmare when he fell 20 feet from his tree stand.
The bottom piece fell off the self-climbing stand and Coley had to hang
onto the gun rail for a few minutes before his grip slipped.
"I fell so fast it just compressed everything in my back and I shattered
my vertebra," said Coley.
His vertebra was shattered because Coley landed feet first. When he hit
the ground, he says he was temporarily paralyzed. He was lucky to have his
cell phone with him so he could call for help.
"The doctor said it was like a bomb went off and they had to put three
rods and five screws in my back," said Coley
Coley had been using a tree stand for three years before his accident,
but never used a harness to strap himself to a tree.
"Never thought it would happen to me. Never bought a hundred-dollar
harness, now I have a $7,500 dollar doctor bill," said Coley.
It is hunting season in South Carolina and Jeff Bolton at Nichoils Store
in Rock Hill says there are a lot of hunters out in the woods that fall.
Bolton says hunting accidents can be prevented.
"If you use all the precautions, like using the seat belt in a truck or a
car, if you use the precautions it's a lot safer," said Bolton.
Bolton also says when you're hunting, especially in an area where you
know there are other hunters in the woods, you need to wear the safety
hunter's orange so you can stand out to other hunters.
The number one safety tip, Bolton says, is when hunting with a rifle -
always treat it like it's loaded.
Coley has been out of work for a year because of his fall and still has
pain from the accident. But Coley says breaking his back hasn't stopped him
from hunting, but now he only hunts from the ground.
He has advice for those who do use tree stands. "Wear a harness.".
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