Wood products employee survives 10 seconds in wood chipper

Jan. 31, 2014 at 1:07 AM

LONGVIEW, Wash., Jan. 31 (UPI) -- An employee at a wood products company in Washington state was severely injured when other workers turned a wood chipper on while he was inside.

Frank Arce of Longview in southwest Washington climbed into the chipper at Swanson Bark and Wood Products Co. to remove an object that had become stuck, KATU-TV in Portland, Ore., reported. He said he heard a click while he was inside and realized the machine was about to come back on.

Arce knew he was stuck -- that there was no way to get out. But he emerged alive after 10 seconds of shredding, although with a collapsed lung, broken ribs, leg and ankle and bruised liver, among other injuries.

He is expected to remain at PeaceHealth SW Washington Medical Center for several weeks.

"Actually going through the machine itself wasn't the worst part about it," he told KATU Wednesday, saying he was conscious the entire time. "What was the worst part (was) the not knowing what was going to happen."

The company said it plans to pay all his medical bills. The accident is being investigated by the Washington State Bureau of Labor and Industries.

Arce, in spite of his injuries, has a positive attitude.

"I felt I had a lot of angels out there with me that day -- a lot of people looking out for me," he said.

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