Article as posted on NJ.com on December 20, 2010
EAST AMWELL TWP. — An 18-year-old township man is home from the hospital today, three days after a large tree he was cutting up fell on him, just missing a direct hit on his head.
“No cuts, bruises, broken bones or punctured lungs,” victim Andrew Wasitowski said, amazed, this afternoon. “Everybody’s telling me it’s Christmas miracle.”
He was cutting a fallen tree up for firewood at 86 Rocktown Road here when the accident happened late Friday afternoon. Adrian Larowe, 18, of 133 Rocktown Road, a friend “since kindergarten,” had called him for help because Andrew has a larger chainsaw than his. A big old tree had fallen across a rock wall.
“I stood up on the wall, right when I was getting ready to cut it, it just started to roll and I jumped and threw the chain saw,” Wasitowski recalled.
His friend had just looked up and watched the accident unfold. “He hit the ground first, the log hit the ground and rolled right on top of him,” Larowe said.
The next thing Wasitowski knew, the tree “was crushing my head and I couldn’t breathe. It was on my neck, head and chest.” He screamed to Larowe for help. “I told him to start pushing it out, but he couldn’t budge it.”
So Larowe used his cell phone to call 9-1-1. It was 4:16 p.m. Pushing on the tree, he was able to lift it up just enough so Wasitowski could breathe better.
Within minutes members of the Amwell Valley-Ringoes Rescue Squad and Amwell Valley Fire Company began arriving, and the firemen were able to “jam a metal rod under the tree to lift it just enough, and they held it, I remember an oxygen mask going over my face,” Wasitowski continued. Both he and Larowe are volunteers with the fire company, so some of their friends were among the rescuers.
They used a "Jaws of Life" power tool to lift the tree further, to make it easier for the victim to get oxygen.
Paramedics from Hunterdon Medical Center also came, as well as Flemington-Raritan Rescue Squad with its Heavy Rescue Unit, and they used inflatable air bags to lift the tree enough to gingerly put him on a backboard and pull him out.
An air ambulance helicopter, Atlantic Air One, was called in and it landed near the accident scene.
Wasitowski was put on a stretcher and carried to the helicopter to go to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. From the Trauma Center, he ended up a patient at its Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital. But the doctors found no serious injuries and he was allowed to go home on Sunday night.
He was there so long mainly for various tests, “trying to figure out why my arm is numb. We found on Sunday that there’s so much swelling in my shoulder that it’s making my right hand numb from the elbow to tip of my fingers,” he said.
A June graduate of Hunterdon Central High School, he is a freshman at Penn State’s Schuylkill Haven campus and was only home for winter break “for 24 hours when this happened,” said his mother, Marian Wasitowski.
Larowe, also a June HCHS grad, is a freshman at Neumann University in Aston, Pa.
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