Carroll man dies after tree-trimming fall in Manchester

Rescue effort fails after accident

March 12, 2011|By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun

A Westminster man was killed Saturday, despite efforts to rescue him, when the tree he was helping to trim in Manchester splintered, leaving him suspended about 20 feet aboveground.

Sidney Wayne Diehl, 59, of Westminster was helping friends trim the top of a large tree in the 2300 block of Convey Drive about 11:15 a.m. According to the Carroll County sheriff's department, the tree broke apart, causing him to plunge about 10 feet before his safety harness broke his fall.

Maj. Phil Kasten, the sheriff's spokesman, said the tree continued to separate as Diehl was hanging about 20 feet in the air. Teams from the Hampstead, Manchester and Pleasant Hill fire companies climbed the tree in an attempt to free him, but he was dead by the time rescuers reached him.

Detective Phil Epperson, who is investigating the incident, said Diehl was apparently pinned against the tree. He said Diehl was an experienced tree trimmer who was wearing all the recommended safety equipment.

Helping friends with their trees was Diehl's "weekend ministry," Epperson said.

Diehl's body was taken to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore for autopsy, and the sheriff's office is investigating the events that led to his death. The sheriff's office asked that anyone with information about the fatality call Detective Doug Epperson at 410-386-2574.

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