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They Heard a Cry for Help, Found Man Impaled by Stump

2 groups of runners stopped to help Michigan man
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2019 11:19 AM CDT
Stock photo of a trail.   (Getty Images / Alex)

(Newser) – Four women running on a trail on the Michigan State University campus Saturday morning heard someone yelling for help from the woods but were hesitant to leave the trail for the unseen person—not knowing if they were about to walk into a trap. So they called 911, and "it's a good thing" they did, the university's police sergeant says, because responding authorities found a 37-year-old man who had been impaled by a tree stump, the Lansing State Journal reports. While waiting for emergency responders, the women flagged down another group of runners, and two of them went to check out the situation. "Basically a chunk of tree was sticking through his shoulder. He was laying on his stomach," says Chris Smith, one of the runners who found the man.

The man had fallen from a tree about 6pm the night prior, police say; when Smith and the other runner asked him why he had been in the tree, he said he was "enjoying nature." A mountain bike, headphones, and a water bottle were found about 20 yards away. When Smith and his friend realized the man was in serious trouble, another runner, who works as a medical assistant, came to help and realized the man had at some point pulled himself off the stump and had a footlong shard of wood, about 2 inches in diameter, sticking out of his arm. "You could see the bone," she says, adding she didn't think the man—who apparently spent the night prior face down on the ground, unable to move—would have made it another night. He has fractures and is hospitalized but is expected to recover. (This runner impaled himself on a javelin.)

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