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Man impaled on tree in abseiling mishap 11-Nov-2007 At 12:17:07 AM DaCrux

Saturday Nov 10 20:07 AEDT
A man is lucky to be alive after he was impaled on a tree branch while abseiling down a steep cliff face on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
The 27-year-old man from Toowoomba was abseiling rapidly down a 100 metre cliff face at Mount Tinbeerwah, near Noosa, when the accident occurred just before 1pm (AEST) on Saturday.
He is recovering in Nambour Hospital with serious injuries after a tricky hour-long rescue operation to extricate him from the rocky and dense bush terrain.
Energex Rescue Helicopter intensive care paramedic Jeff Bradfield said it was one of the most difficult rescue operations he had performed in more than 16 years as a paramedic.
"He descended really quickly and on his way down had a tree branch basically impale him," Mr Bradfield said.
"It entered (from behind his back) and cut him out just below his belly button.
"We had to use bolt cutters to actually cut the part of the tree branch away so that we could fit him into the winch stretcher and then winch him out into the rescue helicopter and fly him to hospital."
Mr Bradfield said the climber was lucky to be alive.
"From talking to one of the emergency physicians at Nambour Hospital, they said initially it looks as though it has missed most of the vital organs in his lower abdomen," Mr Bradfield said.
"He is extremely lucky.
"It was one of the most interesting cases I have done in 16.5 years and even on the helicopter it is quite a unique case. This is literally a one-in-a-million chance of happening."
A friend of the abseiler, Dave Beasley, said he had followed the rescue closely.
"We were on speaker phone, we could hear everything he was saying," Mr Beasley told the Nine Network.
"I was actually in the process of telling some people at the top how safe abseiling is when it happened."

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