Thirsk man hit by falling tree branch says dog saved his lifeon June 13, 2023 at 4:43 pm

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Malcolm Myers says rescue dog Buddy started digging to free him after he got trapped under a branch.

Malcolm Myers with dog BuddyImage source, Malcolm Myers

A man who was trapped under a fallen tree branch has said his life was saved by his dog.

Malcolm Myers, from Thirsk, was walking his rescue dog Buddy on a footpath when he heard a loud crack.

A branch from a horse chestnut tree hit him on the back and head, burying him – but he said Buddy dug away the foliage to help free him.

North Yorkshire Council said it had contacted the landowner and had launched an investigation.

Mr Myers, 63, was walking on a path near Thirsk and Sowerby Institute on 7 June at around 13:45 BST when he said he heard a sound like a “clap of thunder”.

“I was buried with a tree that had fallen on top of me, I was trapped, I couldn’t move,” he said.

“There was a branch around my leg. It was sheer darkness, I couldn’t see anything. I was really fearful for my life at this point.”

Tree fallen on footpath

Image source, Malcolm Myers

He said he could hear people screaming, but his terrier-chihuahua cross Buddy “frantically started digging” at the foliage.

“I remember saying to him, ‘keep digging Bud’. I put my hand out to his paw and then he gave me the strength to fight to get out.”

Mr Myers said he suffered a trauma injury and concussion as a result of being hit by the fallen branch, leaving him “mentally and physically totally wrecked”.

“All I can say is that he’s my little hero, without Buddy by my side I would have died.”

Buddy the dog

He is now calling for the council to do more to inspect older trees that could be at risk of falling on passers-by.

The tree, which is on private property, has a tree protection order on it.

North Yorkshire Council’s interim head of highway operations, Jayne Charlton, said the authority was investigating the situation.”A member of the public alerted us to the incident, which we responded to immediately, closing the footpath while the debris was cleared,” she said.”We received a further report that a man walking his dog was hit on the back by a large branch, while a smaller one struck him on the head.”We have made contact with the landowner to inform them of their responsibilities with regard to the tree, which is subject to a tree preservation order.”

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