ROSS TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CNN) – A Pennsylvania tree cutter is lucky to be alive after a serious accident on the job.
James Valentine, 21, was taking down a tree Monday in Ross Township, Pennsylvania when his chainsaw kicked back and hit him in the neck.
He was cutting at an unusual angle to avoid power lines.
“I just revved it up, and it kicked back out on me and nicked me right here and got stuck in me right there, and that’s when I tried to get out of the tree,” Valentine said.
“I felt it and shut the saw off, because it was in me and it was still running. And then, I saw blood and it was just like, ‘Oh, my gosh! What in the world?”
The chainsaw’s blade went into his left shoulder and cut into his neck. A co-worker helped him down from the tree.
When paramedics arrived, they had a tough job taking the motor apart from the blade.
According to a doctor at Allegheny General Hospital, the chainsaw missed a vital artery by a centimeter. An X-ray shows just how close it came.
When Valentine arrived at the hospital the chainsaw was still stuck in his neck, which was important. The chainsaw had to stay in place to stop the bleeding until doctors removed it.
Valentine is in stable condition in the hospital after surgery. It took about 30 stitches to close his wound. He’s doing very well.
“In his case blessedly. He missed every important structure, just had a little muscle, what we call muscle and soft tissue and skin, and we fixed that and repaired that, and he’s done quite well,” said Dr. Christine Toevs.
“Could have been a lot worse. Definitely. Definitely. Someone was looking over me for sure,” Valentine said.
He’ll take a few days to recover, but then plans to get right back to work.
“I’m a tree climber. That’s what I do.”