SCHENECTADY — A painter working on a Union College building Tuesday was airlifted to Albany Medical Center after a 75-foot tree fell on him, pinning the lift he was in against the building.
Fire and rescue personnel responded to campus a little after 12:40 p.m. The painter — who works for Tritan Builders, according to college spokesman Phil Wajda — was using a "cherry picker" lift at Silliman Hall, a college administration building.
When Schenectady fire crews arrived, the man was trapped about 15 feet above the ground and was in and out of consciousness, Deputy Fire Chief Kurt Gerfin said.
A medical helicopter was called to take him to Albany Medical Center. The helicopter landed on the college's football field, where the man was loaded and taken away.
Gerfin said the man was conscious and alert when he was extricated from the tree and the cherry picker. His condition is unknown. No other injuries were reported, Wajda said.
Witnesses said the man had not knocked into the tree with the picker, Gerfin said. The witnesses reported that “the tree let loose all by itself.”
The large tree fell over at its roots and was still lying against the campus building — which was closed for the rest of the day — later Tuesday afternoon, with the painter’s lift bent and bowed beneath it.
“It just fell,” a student who witnessed the incident said. “It happened fast.”