SACKETS HARBOR — A Lacona man was killed Monday morning when he was pinned in an excavator by an uprooted tree.
Kenneth Bush, 47, of 747 County Route 50, was pronounced dead at Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, Sackets Harbor Police Chief Richard G. Coseo said. An autopsy is scheduled for this afternoon.
A 40-foot-tall tree followed the arm of the excavator and slid down onto the cab shortly before 11:20 a.m., the chief said. The machine had been cutting and pulling trees at the eastern end of Madison Barracks. Mr. Bush was pinned inside the cab for seven to 10 minutes before emergency responders cut off the roof with a hydraulic tool, according to Jason R. Brunet, a member of the Sackets Harbor Fire Department.
The victim was unconscious and unresponsive when rescuers reached him, Mr. Brunet said.
Chief Coseo said three workers — Darrell R. Bellinger and Victor J. Larkins, both of Lowville, and Michael Thompson, Sackets Harbor — witnessed the accident and tried to get Mr. Bush out of the cab before police arrived.
Chief Coseo said he tried to get a pulse, but couldn’t get close enough to Mr. Bush to discern one. The victim was breathing at the time.
Lawler Realty LLC is doing site work at Madison Barracks to prepare for a proposed housing development, and Lawman Heating & Cooling’s construction division, Mr. Bush’s employer, is involved in site clearing.
Michael W. Campbell, longtime manager of the barracks and spokesman for Lawler Realty, declined to comment at the scene.
The Sackets Harbor and Brownville fire departments and ambulances from Sackets Harbor, Henderson and Guilfoyle responded to the emergency, and a state police helicopter was dispatched.
Just as the chopper reached the area, responders determined an airlift would not be necessary and the craft was turned around in flight.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol also were on scene. A representative of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration joined in the investigation later in the day.
Mr. Bush was born June 7, 1964.