An Australian man suffered one of the most gruesome deaths imaginable after falling into a woodchipper while trying to clear branches from a property as a favor to its owner, who was a friend of his.
The terrifying incident took place in a rural area north of Brisbane, where the 54-year-old victim and three friends were working to clear trees from a private property. Forensic investigators determined that the man was accidentally pulled into the machine.
“Unfortunately one of those persons has gone into the machine and has been fatally injured,” Maryborough Forensics Inspector Steve Webb said, per 9 News.
Authorities are now trying to figure out whether the man was using the woodchipper improperly or if the machine malfunctioned and pulled him into the blades. No foul play is suspected and investigators are treating the case as an accidental death.
“It was actually quite horrific,” an officer told News.com.au. “His friends discovered him as he became entangled and attempted to extract him from the shredder and were unable to do so. So they’re obviously quite traumatized.”
The man was severely injured by the time his friends removed him from the woodchipper and died before emergency services could arrive. The scene was so traumatizing to both his friends and to police officers who arrived at the scene that authorities made grief counselors available for all people affected by the death.
“It’s a horrendous thing to have to attend as a police officer any sudden death – but these circumstances were absolutely shocking,” Acting Inspector Paul Algie told ABC Wide Bay.