A CalTrans worker’s arm was cut off Thursday while clearing brush off the road in Fallbrook.
The worker, Jason Giessow, was taken to the hospital while deputies searched for his arm on Highway 76 near Gird Rd., just two miles west of I-15.
Rescuers located Giessow's arm 50 yards away from where the accident occurred. Medics transported the arm via helicopter to Palomar Hospital, where Giessow was taken 20 minutes earlier.
Sheriff’s deputies believe the man’s arm was severed when a loose cable became caught in the machinery he was using to clear brush from the road. The cable snapped the workers arm as it went by him, launching the man's arm into the air, according to Sheriff's Search and Rescue Recovery in Bonsall.
“This machine has rotors that go about 10,000 rpm. It got under that cable and he happened to be standing too close and the cable came snapping through and just severed his arm at the shoulder. Very fast, within a millisecond,” Jan Caldwell with San Diego County Sheriff's Office said.
Medics had a three-hour window to reattach the arm. The accident occurred at about 1 p.m. Thursday. It is unknown at this time whether medics were successful in reattaching his arm.
A nurse in the Palomar Medical Center emergency room suggested calling the rescue team.
About 25 volunteers and two dogs then helped to locate the arm, which was placed in ice and saline before taken to the hospital.
Brian Tindall with San Diego County Search and Rescue found the arm.
“I thought was a log. I kind of poked at it with the machete and it was soft, so I moved some of the brush away and that was the arm. I just yelled out 'I found it.' Think I heard 'found what?' 'Found the arm!'” Tindall said.
The arm was in surprisingly good condition, mostly intact with the wedding ring still on, Tindall said.
The state's Department of Industrial Relations is investigating the incident.
Check back for more details on this developing story.