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Helmet, luck save tree trimmer's life after 57-foot fall

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He has six broken ribs, a possible neck fracture, a fractured sternum, a broken arm, and a lacerated liver and spleen, but tree trimmer Eden Hanson considers himself one lucky man.

The 23-year-old from Pierz, Minnesota, was trimming a tree in Ham Lake on Tuesday, FOX 9 reports, when the branch he was hanging off snapped and sent him plunging 57-feet to the ground.

Were it not for his helmet and a whole heap of luck, Hanson's injuries could well have proved fatal or led to permanent paralysis, doctors at Hennepin County Medical Center told him.

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"I remember everything that happened", he told FOX9. "The whole top of the tree came down."

Hanson was in Ham Lake to take the oak tree down from top to bottom, only for the top part of the tree to snap when it could no longer support his weight, according to KTTC.

Hanson, who has two children with wife Emily, has been told by doctors he might have a compression fracture of his neck, but he does not seem to have suffered any paralysis as a result, the Pioneer Press reports.

Since his accident, he has vowed to put his tree climbing days behind him, the newspaper notes.

He told FOX 9 he hopes the story will remind everyone that helmets save lives, and urged amateur tree trimmers to leave the job to the professionals, though Hanson's case proves how dangerous it can be even for them.

A dangerous profession

Tree trimming is fraught with danger. Labor market statistics for 2009 showed that the nation's tree trimmers suffered 2,070 injuries in 2009, the Journal News reports.

The Tree Care Industry Association puts the fatality rate at about 40 deaths per 100,000 workers, according to the Springfield News and Sun.

The industry in Minnesota has suffered its fair share of tragedy. In June this year, a 21-year-old tree trimmer working in Minnetonka died after a small branch he was working on came into contact with a power line, WCCO reported.

Travis Sutherland, of St. Cloud, died after he being electrocuted by the current that passed through the branch while he was about 30-feet up the tree.

And in September 2011, 25-year-old trimmer Murray Perdue died after falling 20-feet from a tree in Lake Prairie, Southern Minnesota, after the rotted branch he was leaning on gave way, according to the Star Tribune.

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