Chelsea Fire rescues hunter who fell from tree stand

Posted at 5:05 PM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-19 18:04:19-05

This is a story that could have ended much differently. 

First responders say if this hunter didn't have his phone, he may have lost his life. They recorded the unique and dramatic rescue.

The call came into 911 just after 7 a.m. on Monday. 

A man fell out of his self-climbing tree stand, then became caught in it in the Pickney Recreation Area. 

Chelsea Fire Capitan Scott Basar responded. 

"He was about a half mile back," Basar said. "Which made it challenging for us. Nobody was going to be around him."

Basar saw the man and knew firefighters needed help. He called on the Washtenaw County Technical Rescue Team. 

"We pulled up and he was hanging upside down," said Greg Payeur, the Deputy Director of the team. 

He said the team happened to recently receive training on how to rescue someone in such situations. They went to work. 

"With feet caught between the self-climber. We noticed the safety harness was not connected. He was about 50 feet up in the air. Now I am thinking there are no anchors, how do I get to this guy?,"  said Steve Wallgren of the Washtenaw County Technical Rescue Team. "Any adjustment there, he could fall out."

One firefighter grabbed a similar tree-stand and used it to get up in the tree to help. 

In the meantime, the rescue team grabbed ropes, sling-shotted them up into the trees and created a pulley system. 

Steve Wallgren went up in the tree to rescue the hunter, keeping him calm by talking about what everyone in Chelsea has been talking about lately. 

"Talking about Chelsea football," Wallgren said. "Will be at Ford Field on Friday. Go dogs!"

These first responders say there is a lesson here for all hunters – make sure you have plenty of practice using self-climbing tree stands before you go out alone. Also, attach your phone to your body.   

Watch video of the rescue below: