Tree Kills Priest River Logger Tree Rolls Down Hill, Pins Him Against Another Tree
A Priest River logger died near Kingston on Thursday when a felled tree rolled down a hill and pinned him against another tree.
The accident marks the sixth logging or sawmill death in North Idaho this year.
Shoshone County Sheriff’s deputies withheld the 43-year-old man’s name, pending notification of family members.
Capt. Spike Angle said the accident occurred about 10 a.m. on Bear Creek Road near Enaville.
The man had been cutting a log near the road when another rolled down the hill and crushed him, Angle said. He apparently died from head injuries.
The man worked for McDonald Logging of Pinehurst. Other employees were working nearby, but the Priest River man had been alone at the time of the accident.
“We run a small crew and we stick pretty close together,” company owner Ronald McDonald said. “I’m just shook up.”
Logging typically claims about four lives a year in Idaho, according to figures from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
In Washington, where the timber industry is even larger, forestry and logging occupations account for 10 deaths a year statewide.
“In a smaller state, six or seven deaths would be unusual,” said Steven Valandra, a spokesman for the Washington Department of Labor and Industry. “It’s probably really unusual to have that many just in five counties.”
Sheriff’s deputies said they weren’t sure why 1997 would be a worse year for timber fatalities in the Panhandle.
“Every year for logging is bad,” Angle said. “It’s a very dangerous profession.”