A rescue mission turned into a recovery mission after a commercial tree arborist died while suspended about 70 feet above the ground Monday afternoon.
Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis identified the man as David Wayne Vaughn, 57, of Walhalla.
The Pickett Post-Camp Oak Fire department was called to a house on Holly Lane in Walhalla about 1 p.m., said Oconee County Fire Chief Charlie King in a news release.
The homeowners walked outside to check on the man when they realized they didn’t hear the sound of sawing anymore, King said.
Vaughn was a self-employed arborist, who was trimming and cutting down a tree on private property. He arrived at the house at 8 a.m. to begin work on the tree, Addis said.
He was found unresponsive in his safety harness, Addis said in a news release.
Once the rescuers got to the unconscious man, they determined he was dead, King said.
Vaughn was lowered to the ground, and the whole operation took about 30 minutes.
“He had no obvious fatal injuries, although him being struck by a falling branch cannot be ruled out at this time. It is possible he sustained a medical event while in the tree,” Addis said in an email.
Addis said an autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday to find out if any medical or trauma event caused Vaughn’s death.