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From the Cannon Beach Gazette
Logger loses leg, sends
Morse code for help

A 42-year-old Warrenton logger lost his leg in a forestry accident Nov. 12, roughly 1.5 miles up the Tolovana Mainline just outside of Cannon Beach city limits.   Dave Baerlein, a hook tender for Morisse Logging of Astoria, was working on Willamette Industries property, when a misplaced cable caused the noon-time accident, according to Willamette Forester Mark Morgans.

     “What happened was a cable got wrapped around his leg and the cable was attached to a winch on a Caterpillar tractor,” said Morgans, describing the accident. “When the winch line was pulled tight it severed his leg below the knee.”
    Amazingly, Baerlein maintained his composer and was able to alert co-workers of the accident using Morse code on his two-way radio.
    “It’s a brutal injury, but he had the composure to signal the emergency,” said Morgans. “He’s one tough man.”
    Cannon Beach Rural Fire Protection District officials arrived at the scene shortly after the incident and stabilized Baerlein before Medix arrived. He was then transported to Columbia Memorial Hospital, where he was eventually life-flighted to Emmanuel Hospital in Portland.

     “The pretty good news is, we check on him (Nov. 14) and he’s out of intensive care and it looks like they’re going to be able to save a portion of the leg that is left,” said Morgans. “He’s a good candidate for a prosthesis and the doctors hope he will be able to return to work in the forest. It’s going to be awhile.”
    Morgans commended Cannon Beach emergency officials in their response to the incident. Eleven officials responded, according to Fire Chief Cleve Rooper.
    Rooper said the last logging accident in the area occurred last spring.

Reprinted by permission (C) 2001 Cannon Beach Gazette


 
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