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ATV rider nearly killed after being impaled in the neck by large stick

The stick was 1.5 inches in diameter and went 6-7 inches into his body.

A 50-year-old Cambridge man nearly died after being impaled by a large stick while riding an ATV.

A Go Fund Me for William Charpenter says he was taking part in a veterans ATV charity ride starting in Bruno, Minnesota, on Sept. 11, cruising through dense woods when all of a sudden a large tree branch fell on to the vehicle. Both Charpenter and his nephew, also on the ATV, pushed the branch out of the way — then suddenly, Charpenter grabbed his neck and cried out.

When the group went to check, they saw a 1.5-inch wide stick, sticking out of his neck area.

In a rural area with no cell service, Charpenter had to wait while a few group members rode out to call 911, with some retired nurses and EMTs who were out on the ride able to provide some help. It was a long wait however, nearly three hours before a LifeLink helicopter could land nearby.

Charpenter was taken to the aircraft, then flown to Duluth for emergency surgery. 

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Doctors said the branch went 6-7 inches deep, "just narrowly missing the main artery in his neck and coming [within] fractions of a inch from his heart," the Go Fund Me says.

He is now in the intensive care unit, recovering. His daughter shared a Facebook photo Tuesday, in which a recovering Charpenter is giving a thumbs up.

The Go Fund Me to help cover medical expenses has raised just over $1,500 as of Wednesday afternoon, with a goal of $50,000. FOX 9 also spoke to Charpenter's family about the incident.

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