Sandy-Damaged Tree Crushes, Kills NJ Man

Ocean County man dies when storm-damaged tree falls on him

Authorities say an Ocean Township man was killed Thanksgiving Day while trying to remove a tree that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Police in Brick, N.J. told the Asbury Park Press that Vernon Hankins was cutting down the tree at his township home around 10:55 Thursday morning. It had been uprooted by the storm and had a large hole at its base.

Hankins, 61, apparently went into the hole and started cutting the tree's exposed roots, which caused the tree's weight to shift. The tree then came down on Hankins, leaving him trapped.

Neighbors initially tried to free Hankins by digging around the hole, but he remained trapped until firefighters were able to use their equipment to pull the tree off him at 11:11 a.m. Hankins was taken to a hospital, where he died a short time later.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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