Man Survives Trip Into Wood Chipper
Frank Arce's lower body was mangled in '10 seconds of hell'
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2014 2:16 AM CST
Updated Jan 31, 2014 6:06 AM CST
Frank Arce's chest tattoo says "Send me an angel."   (Potvin Alberto)

(Newser) – Frank Arce of Longview, Washington, has a broken pelvis, broken leg, seven broken ribs, a shattered ankle, a bruised liver, a collapsed lung, and assorted other injuries—but he went into a wood chipper-like machine last week and lived to tell the tale. The wood products worker's 10 seconds of hell began when a log got stuck inside the chamber that fed the machine, called a hopper, on the evening of Jan. 23 at Swanson Bark & Wood Products. Workers shut down the machine before he climbed into the hopper remove the jam. What happened next is somewhat unclear, and under investigation. The 23-year-old tells the Daily News that "apparently the piece (of machinery) I was standing next to was on a different circuit," and somehow started back up again, sucking him from the hopper into the "porcupine."

In KATU-TV's telling, a coworker who was unaware he was inside started the machine up. Reuters also says a coworker was at fault, but notes that Arce had fallen through the hopper's hole before it was turned on. What is clear is that the machine was shut off when workers heard Arce's screams—but the lower half of his body had already been shredded by the porcupine, which uses curved metal tines measuring roughly half a foot to break up bark. "There's no way I should be here right now," he tells Reuters, crediting his survival to "guardian angels." (A wide tattoo on his chest appropriately reads "Send me an angel.") He suffered permanent nerve damage and it's not clear whether he will be able to walk normally again. "He might not be at 100% but he's alive and that's all that we care about," his mother says. (Click for another tale of survival, this one involving butterflies.)

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Showing 3 of 38 comments
Wallace Morrison
Feb 1, 2014 7:12 PM CST
Gotta love us humans. Get a tattoo on your freakin chest and then you thank an angel for your survival. He should be thanking the man who turned it off "ONLY" when he heard him screaming. He would be dead if it wasn't for that man. It wasn't an angel watching over him, if it was a F'n human that was at his position, doing his job and who was listening. Amazing how much of this human race thanks invisible beings and not those who we actually see. I'm pretty sure, if I was the man who saved his life and I heard him thank some angel for his life, that I'd make sure in some way that he understood how ignorant he sounded. It's great he's alive and he can enjoy his family, but he needs to give credit where credit is really due, and the man who saved his life needs to be rewarded somehow for a job that was damn well done right.
miknew
Feb 1, 2014 12:28 PM CST
He is one lucky chipper.....
Ezekiel 25:17
Feb 1, 2014 12:31 AM CST
Surprising its so strange how common this actually is in the industry. I know of a guy who worked for the Lincoln Log home company as a maintenance tech. Exact same thing happened to him. Someone ignored lock out/tag out and turned on the chipper while he was working inside it. He wound up with the same injuries and on disability. That's why its nice to have one of those tiny padlocks where you have the only key. You put that lock on the main circuit breaker serving the machinery in which you are working.