Hunter stuck in tree rescued

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:48 AM

Matt Kelly was climbing down from his stand a couple of hundred yards off the 9300 block of Lincoln Street when his knee got stuck between some branches.

It started when he got to his tree stand and noticed his ladder was missing. He put on his harness and used a rope to climb 25-feet up the tree. He made sure his phone was in his pocket, even though the signal isn't good. "Last time I was out here I couldn't even send a text message."

About 45-minutes later, Kelly decided to quit. As he rapelled back down, his knee got stuck in the tree. He was holding himself up, by the rope. "After about ten minutes of screaming, I was 1/2 mile out in the woods. I said, I don't think anyone heard me. So, I fished out my phone out of my pocket. I was able to get service and call 911."

Emergency personnel reached the woods in 15-minutes. They used the GPS on Kelly's phone to guide them to his location. "I was getting very weak. I was getting to the point, where I didn't think I could hold on anymore."

Matt was rescued from the tree and treated at the scene. He will no doubt be sore, but happy to be alive.

The tree stand was set up in a swampy and woody area, said Chief Mike Keefe of the Allendale Township Fire Department. They would not have been able to even get an all-terrain vehicle back to him.

An Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputy put the hunter’s ladder back in place, climbed up and helped hold the man up enough so he could free himself, Keefe said.

WZZM-13 contributed to this story.

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