Sandy-damaged tree kills NJ man

November 23, 2012 10:44:39 AM PST
Authorities say a southern New Jersey man was killed Thanksgiving Day while trying to remove a tree that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Brick police tell the Asbury Park Press that 61-year-old Vernon Hankins was cutting down the tree at his township home late Thursday morning. It had been uprooted by the storm and had a large hole at its base.

Hankins apparently went into the hole and started cutting the tree's exposed roots, which caused the tree's weight to shift. The tree then came down on Hankins, leaving him trapped.

Neighbors initially tried to free Hankins, but he remained trapped until firefighters were able to use their equipment to pull the tree off him. Hankins was taken to a hospital, where he died a short time later.