Miguel Vargas had been working as a member of a tree-trimming crew for the past seven years. Despite years of experience working with dangerous equipment, Vargas met his untimely demise in a fatal accident with a wood chipper while working in a suburban Tampa neighborhood.
Some may jump to the common conclusion of a man being pulled into the teeth of the chipper and chopped to shreds. The accident involving Vargas differs dramatically.
The accident unfolded within seconds when a length of rope managed to slip over Miguel’s neck as he was placing branches into the chipper. The rope was pulled into the chipper’s teeth such that it formed a noose-like loop around his neck.
Within seconds, the loop tightened as Vargas struggled to avoid being pulled head-first into the chopping gears. The pressure of the loop closed around his neck with fast, intense force and Vargas was decapitated almost instantly.
Vargas was unable to reach the emergency shut-off switch, and fellow workers did not witness the accident first-hand.
Dwayne Wilson, Vargas’ supervisor, ran back to shut off the chipper after he heard a metal clip that was attached to the rope grinding against the chopping teeth.
When Wilson reached the back of the machine, he found Vargas on the ground, already dead.
Vargas, a member of a five man tree-trimming crew, was only 44 years old. His death has been officially ruled as an accident.