Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Construction worker Wilfredo Hernandez's throat was cut when a chainsaw he was using kicked up during Hurricane Irma cleanup

Man accidentally killed by chainsaw while helping clean up Irma debris

September 12, 2017

HILLSBOROUGH Co., Fla. - A man was accidentally killed by a chainsaw Monday while helping a neighbor cut tree branches during Hurricane Irma cleanup.

It happened at 5115 Town N Country Blvd.

Authorities say a branch became entangled with the chainsaw. It kicked up and cut Wilfredo Hernandez' throat.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue responded and used a harness to lower him from the tree, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.


Town 'N Country man helping with Irma cleanup dies in chain saw accident

Dan Sullivan, Times Staff Writer

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 6:30pm

TAMPA — Rodrigo Martinez knelt before a hole in the black, weed-choked earth. A heavy log lay near him, freshly severed from the towering branches. He cradled the burly wood, its bark stained with droplets of red.

"Brother, I'm with you," he said. "You know that. Your blood is my blood."

He placed the log in the hole, dug at the exact place where, a day earlier, his friend Wilfredo Hernandez came to rest after firefighters lowered his body from the tree.

Hernandez became the only known local casualty of Hurricane Irma, but not until after the storm wreaked havoc on Tampa Bay.

The 55-year-old construction worker was helping Martinez, a close friend and neighbor on their Town 'N Country street, trim the tangled branches that swayed through power cables in his back yard.

Hernandez stood high atop the tree late Monday afternoon. Martinez and neighbors in an adjacent yard watched as he pressed a chain saw into the wood.

The blade became stuck in a branch, they later told Hillsborough sheriff's deputies. As Hernandez pulled, the chain saw kicked back and tore into his neck, cutting through his jugular vein and carotid artery, according to a medical examiner report.

Firefighters and deputies arrived at the home at 5115 Town 'N Country Blvd. and used a harness to lower him. He was dead.

On Tuesday afternoon, Martinez stood with two other men, sweating in the hot sun, amid shrubs and grass and tangled vines.

He held up a knotted stick — two small branches marked with blood forking off a larger severed piece, and thin vine jutting out from the end. He tugged the vine with his fingers.

"This is what killed him," he said, "this little piece right here."

He and Hernandez had been friends for several years, he said. They lived in the working-class, mostly Hispanic neighborhood northwest of the city, where residents looked out for one other.

They boarded up when the storm approached. When it was over, they thought they had escaped unscathed. Some saw the accident as it happened. Others had heard about it. Few wanted to talk about it. Hernandez was a father of three adult children who live in Cuba.

The authorities carried away his body, but there were bloody reminders everywhere Tuesday.

With spare words exchanged in Spanish, Martinez and another man, Sergio Rodriguez, dug the hole near the base of the tree.

"We're going to take it down," Martinez said, "And bury him where he fell."

Rodriguez ascended a ladder against the tree trunk. He stepped high to the place where Hernandez had fallen.

He used a handheld blade to saw. Wood dust rained down past a white fence that was stained with red.

Rodriguez put the saw aside and grabbed a machete that had been placed in the wood. He raised the blade and swung, striking the branch again and again.


Martinez noted the date his friend had died — Sept. 11. He said he used to work in New York and knew many who perished that day 16 years ago.

"What do you call that?" he said. "Coincidence? Destiny?"

The log dangled, then fell.

Rodriguez picked up a shovel and stabbed at the wood.

The men gathered the fallen branches and foliage and filled the hole. They ran a garden hose from next door.

Martinez sprayed the cool running water. The red spots dissolved and trickled to the ground, flowing over mud and into the hole. He removed his white T-shirt and used it to wipe a fence.

He stopped, and he sobbed.


Chainsaw kickback is a very common thing during working process. It usually occurs when chainsaw is handled not properly or carefully. This coward thing occurs if you hit the kickback zone on your bar. After this the chain grips the timber in this area. Then chainsaw goes back to you, more particularly to your face. The power of inertia can make bad injures. This direction occurs because of the rotating chain. The kickback zone is the upper half of the tip. Don’t use this area for cutting something, cause the possibility of kickback is very high. Pay attention to this zone every time you use chainsaw. Producers make everything to prevent users from kickback. Nevertheless, users should also follow several simple rules to avoid kickback during work. You should be ready to follow these rules and perform tasks as carefully as possible. 

The most dangerous bar area

First of all, keep your hands on the instrument. Grip rear and front handles solidly, cause it’s the basic rule. Operator should control all motions of the instrument. Always use proper stances and approved cutting techniques. There is plenty of information about these things, so study and use them. The nose of your guide bar shouldn’t be put against the wood. Make a proper plan of cutting in your mind and try to perform it with your chainsaw without starting it. Always use sharpened chain, cause dull one leads to the greater possibility of kickback. Tighten your chain properly before using it, don’t forget to do this regularly. Using of protection gear is a must, but you of course know about this tip. And the last thing is your fear of kickback. You should be always cold-blooded while starting the work. 

Protection from producers

Bar tip guard

The best thing you can do is to use Oregon chains in order to minimize the risks. All producers approve these chains, cause they are anti kickback ones. Inertia activated brakes are also were created to protect you. Manual brakes have the same purpose. Some producers use bar tip guards in order to make the working process as safe as possible. Always check your chain and bar for wear, cause these things can also lead to dangerous things.

Every single chainsaw is the source of increased danger. These instruments remain one of the most dangerous ones. Proper handling won’t lead to dangerous things during working process. The majority of injures happen because of users, who are not attentive enough or don’t follow the above-mentioned rules. Take these tips into consideration and you’ll save your health.

A pilot killed after he crashed his Sorrell Hyperlight ultralight home-made plane in a soybean field in Winnebago County, Wisconsin

VINLAND, WI - An Appleton man is dead after a ultralight plane crashed Tuesday morning at Winnebago County Road G near State 76, authorities confirmed.

The Winnebago County Sheriff's Office and the Vinland Fire Department responded around 8:30 a.m. for a report of a plane that crashed in a field. The crash happened on County G west of State 76. The sole occupant in the plane, a 68-year-old man, died, said Capt. Lara Vendola-Messer of the sheriff's department.

The cause of the crash has not yet been determined.

Authorities are not releasing any more details about the man, pending notification of his family.

In addition to the sheriff's office, the Wisconsin State Patrol and Gold Cross Ambulance responded to the scene. The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash.


WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A 68-year-old Appleton man was killed when an Ultralight aircraft crashed in Winnebago County Tuesday morning, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The man's name has not been released.

The crash happened off County Road G, near Rhyner Road, in Vinland. Vinland is southwest of Neenah.

"At 8:36 this morning the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office received a call in our 911 center about a plane that had crashed here," said Patrol Capt. Lara Vendola Messer.

First responders found the Ultralight flipped in a soybean field.

The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene. He was the only person in the aircraft.

The owner of the soybean field heard the crash and called 911.

"Heard a loud crash so I went outside to see what happened and unfortunately saw an airplane upside down in our soybean field," said Karen Brazee.

Brazee called 911. She checked to see if the pilot was still alive.

"And ran down the ditch and also saw a gentleman from N&M Transfer assisting the person that had crashed," Brazee said.

Winnebago County Sheriff's Office is leading the investigation into the crash.


Date: 12-SEP-2017
Time: 08:30LT
Type: Sorrell Hyperlight?

Owner/operator: Private

C/n / msn:

Fatalities: Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities: 0
Airplane damage: Substantial
Location: near highway 76, Vinland, Winnebago County, WI - United States of America
Phase: Unknown

Departure airport:

Destination airport:

The ultralight crashed in a field and came to rest inverted.
The pilot died.


Judge Thomas Gehret dismissed criminal charges against the Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian in an Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia that killed eight people, stating that no evidence existed that Bostian was impaired or using a cellphone

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 11:25PM
PHILADELPHIA -- A judge on Tuesday dismissed criminal charges against the engineer in an Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia that killed eight people, citing a lack of evidence.

"Based on this evidence, I feel it's more likely an accident than criminal negligence," Judge Thomas Gehret said after a preliminary hearing for Brandon Bostian, who faced charges that included involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

The 34-year-old engineer was arrested in May after the family of one of the victims filed a private criminal complaint, and another judge overruled prosecutors who'd said there wasn't enough evidence against him. Bostian's lawyers argued in court documents that the unusual circumstances leading to Bostian's arrest, as the statute of limitations loomed, had violated his due process rights.

Judge dismisses charges against Amtrak engineer. John Rawlins reports during Action News at 4pm on September 12, 2017.

Bostian's Washington-to-New York train tumbled from the tracks on May 12, 2015, after accelerating to 106 mph as it entered a 50-mph curve. About 200 people were injured.

Federal safety investigators concluded Bostian lost his bearings while distracted by an incident with a nearby train.

At Tuesday's hearing, a passenger who survived the deadly crash testified that she could feel the train speed up as it approached a curve, then heard a "big bang" as her car hurtled off the tracks and she wound up unconscious in the woods.

As the train accelerated and began "going way too fast," Blair Berman said she removed an earbud and looked into the aisle to see what was happening.

"I heard screaming from the front of the car and then a big bang and then I blacked out and woke up in the woods," she said, adding that other passengers were lying on top of her.

Berman, who suffered several broken bones, testified that she encountered Bostian when she regained consciousness - barefoot and unable to put weight on her leg - and began screaming for help.

May 13, 2015: Chopper 6 HD was over the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia scene the morning after an Amtrak train derailed.

She said Bostian initially refused to let her use his phone, then relented, and she called her father.

Berman, who was living in New York at the time of the crash and was heading home after a Mother's Day weekend in the Philadelphia area, said Bostian appeared alert and aware. She said he was able to tell her where along the route the train had crashed.

But Philadelphia Police Det. Joseph Knoll, testifying later Tuesday, said that Bostian didn't seem to know where he was when he arrived at a hospital a few miles from the crash scene.

"Are we in New York?" Bostian asked nurses and others as he walked into the hospital, according to Knoll.

Knoll said he could tell Bostian was injured in the crash because he had a visible head wound, but didn't know the engineer had suffered a concussion.

The National Transportation Safety Board found no evidence that Bostian was impaired or using a cellphone. The agency also called Amtrak's long failure to implement automatic speed control throughout the busy Northeast Corridor a contributing factor.

It has since installed speed controls on all the tracks it owns on the Northeast Corridor from Boston to Washington.

Tuesday's testimony revealed that Bostian had a second electronic device with him the night of the crash - a tablet computer.

Eric McClendon, with the police department's bomb disposal unit, said he found a small tablet inside Bostian's backpack in the locomotive. But the device later went missing and was never examined by federal investigators for possible use while Bostian was operating the train.


Amtrak 188 Engineer Brandon Bostian Criminally Charged in Deadly Philadelphia Train Derailment

The train was traveling 106 mph when it jumped the tracks negotiating a large curve at Frankford Junction on May 12, 2015
By Vince Lattanzio

The engineer operating Amtrak 188 when it careened off the tracks in Northeast Philadelphia two years ago has been charged criminally in the derailment, Pennsylvania's attorney general announced Friday.

Brandon Bostian, 33, was charged shortly after 5 p.m. Friday, a mere seven hours before the statute of limitations was set to expire in the case and following a legal challenge by the family of a woman killed in the catastrophe.

Amtrak 188 was traveling 106 mph when it jumped the northbound tracks negotiating a large curve at Frankford Junction on May 12, 2015. Several cars overturned and one was left crushed and contorted. The curve's speed limit was set at 50 mph.

Eight passengers were killed and 200 were injured. Bostian told investigators he couldn't remember the moments leading up to the crash. He suffered a blow to the head during the derailment.

Bostian faces eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of causing or risking a catastrophe and numerous counts of reckless endangerment.

Bostian, who lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, has not yet been arraigned on the charges. Prosecutors said they have been in talks with his attorney to have him surrender. Attempts to reach Bostian or his attorney for comment have been unsuccessful. Our sister station, NBC Boston, visited his home, but no one answered the door.

The case was transferred to the Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro's office on Thursday after Philadelphia Municipal Court President Judge Marsha Neifield ordered a private criminal complaint could move forward.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams previously declined to file charges against the engineer.

"I commend our outstanding team in the Office of the Attorney General who worked diligently and thoughtfully around the clock to enable us to be in this position to pursue justice on behalf of the victims of this deadly crash," Shapiro said in a statement.

An intense federal investigation focused on what Bostian was doing in the moments leading up to the derailment.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said Bostian accelerated to full-throttle as the New York-bound train traversed a straightaway through North Philadelphia.

The NTSB analyzed the engineer's cell phone to determine whether he was distracted by the device. They found it had been turned off before and during the incident. It was later ruled that radio chatter about a rock strike to a nearby SEPTA train's windshield stole Bostian's attention that night.

He lost track of where he was on the route; the realization that the curve was looming ahead in the darkness didn't come until seconds before the crash, investigators said. Bostian hit the breaks right before he felt the train tipping over.

Photo credit: Google Maps and NBC

"I remember holding onto the controls tightly and feeling like, okay well this is it, I'm going over," Bostian told investigators. He said he remembered speeding up and later hitting the emergency break, but nothing in between.

When the engine and the six cars in tow left the tracks near Wheatsheaf Lane around 9:15 p.m., passengers were tossed like dolls in the carriages. The first passenger car hit steel support beams suspending electrical wires. The beams sliced through the car, bending the coach into an unrecognizable shape. Some passengers were ejected from the train through broken emergency windows and crushed.

Eight passengers were killed: Derrick Griffith, 42, a dean at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York; Rachel Jacobs, 39, the CEO of Philadelphia-based company ApprenNet and a mother of a toddler; Abid Gilani, 55, who worked for Wells Fargo; Justin Zemser, 20, a Naval Academy midshipman; Jim Gaines, 48, a father and Associated Press video software architect; Bob Gildersleeve, 45, a father and vice president of Ecolab; Laura Finamore, 47, a senior account director at Cushman & Wakefield; and Giuseppe Piras, 41, a wine and oil executive from Sardinia, Italy.

Two hundred other passengers were hurt with injuries ranging from paralysis to broken bones and scratches. Police, firefighters and nearby homeowners helped to carry the injured from the tracks to waiting ambulances and buses. Those who could walk were offered water and a place to sit inside stranger's homes.

From left to right: Justin Zemser, Jim Gaines, Rachel Jacobs, Abid Gilani and Derrick Griffith were among the eight people killed in the Amtrak 188 derailment.

Amtrak agreed to a $265 million settlement with the injured and families of those killed. Bostian also filed suit against Amtrak in January accusing the railroad of not providing him a safe working environment.

The railroad came under fire after the catastrophe for not having a speed control system on the rails. Called Positive Train Control, the system will automatically slow a train that is speeding. Amtrak later said the system was installed on the tracks, but not activated. It has since been deployed.

Bostian has not spoken publicly about the derailment in the two years since. The NTSB investigation said he was a train enthusiast who had good knowledge of the speeds and tracks he was operating on.

Two trains operating on the same route were struck by flying rocks that night — the SEPTA regional rail train and an Amtrak Acela heading for Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. Passengers on the Acela shared pictures of a shattered window with NBC10 following the derailment.

Experts theorized that Amtrak 188's locomotive could have also been hit by a flying rock, the impact of which may have disoriented Bostian, but the engineer's memory loss and a lack of additional evidence left the hypothesis unproven.

Shapiro's office scrambled to file charges Friday as a midnight statute of limitations deadline loomed. Earlier this week the Philadelphia district attorney said while it was clear the derailment was caused by speeding, there was not enough clear evidence to file criminal charges.

"We have no evidence that the engineer acted with criminal 'intent' or criminal 'knowledge' within the special meaning of those terms under Pennsylvania law for purposes of criminal charges," the office said in a release Tuesday.

The family of Rachel Jacobs then filed a private criminal complaint in Philadelphia Municipal court. A judge ruled Bostian should be charged and the case was referred to Shapiro's office.

"The attorney general tonight should be commended and congratulated for doing the right thing," attorney Tom Kline, one of three lawyers representing the derailment victims said of the charges.

"This is a moment of justice. This is a moment of bringing a man to task for what he did to all of these families."
Kline spoke to Jacobs' father, John Jacobs, shortly after the charges were announced and said the man "wept at his daughter's grave tonight."

Farm worker Lloyd Behrens, 57, died after he became trapped in a potato barge while doing maintenance at CSS Potatoe Farms, LLC in North Platte, NE

Farm worker dies in machinery accident


North Platte, NE

A farm worker died after getting caught in machinery Tuesday morning at a potato farm south of North Platte.

Lloyd Behrens, 57, of North Platte was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s deputies and North Platte Rescue were called at 9:20 a.m. to the farm on West Watts Road.

Behrens became trapped in a potato barge while doing maintenance, said Steve Gangwish, chief operating officer of CSS Farms, which owns the farm. A potato barge is used to collect and transport potatoes during harvest, he said.

Gangwish repeatedly expressed sympathies to Behrens’ family, saying the company and its employees are “heartbroken about the tragic accident.”

He said the company hadn’t had such an accident in 30 years. CSS Farms is investigating and cooperating with local law enforcement and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, he said.

Founded in 1986, the company has a presence in 13 states, according to its website.

No foul play, drugs or alcohol are suspected in the incident, the sheriff’s office said.

Here is the announcement from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office:

On September 12, 2017 at 9:20 a.m., Deputies were advised of an accident involving farm equipment south of North Platte, on West Watts Road. It was reported a male subject was pinned in the mechanical portion of a farm implement.

Deputies and North Platte Rescue responded to the location and found the gentleman was trapped in potato collecting machine on private property. The male subject was identified as fifty-seven year old Lloyd Behrens of North Platte, NE. Mr. Behrens was pronounced dead at the scene. No foul play, drugs or alcohol are suspected.