Man loses hand, fingers in accident

Athol resident was working on his ham radio tower

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Firefighters from Timberlake Fire Protection District work the scene where an Athol man lost a hand and several fingers Thursday following an accident that occurred while working on a ham radio tower.

A 52-year-old ham radio operator in Athol lost several fingers and one of his hands Thursday when his amateur radio antenna tower collapsed on him while he was working on it.

Multiple agencies responded to Bearpaw Galindo's home on Caravelle Road after his wife, Gail Perry, phoned 911 and informed a dispatcher the man was hanging 20 feet in the air with his right arm pinned within a telescoping-type tower.

Perry said Galindo was repairing a portion of the 40-foot-tall telescoping tower, when a cable holding it up snapped and caused the top portions of the tower to collapse on his hands.

"I saw his fingers fly off of his right hand," Perry told The Press. "I never want to see something like that again."

According to a press release from the Timberlake Fire Protection District, crews were dispatched to the scene at 11:58 a.m., and proceeded to raise the tower in an effort to free Galindo's arm. After 20 minutes, the man was extricated and lowered to the ground.

Galindo was trapped for a total of 45 minutes.

"I can't say anything better about them," Perry said of the emergency responders. "They were awesome."

Galindo was then transported by Life Flight to Kootenai Health.

Doctors told Perry her husband was in critical condition early Thursday evening. At 3 p.m., Galindo was taken into surgery, where doctors performed a partial amputation on his left hand and a full amputation on the right. Perry said doctors estimated the surgery would last more than four hours.

"They (doctors) said that he will be in the hospital for quite a few days," Perry said.

Life Flight airlifted 52-year-old Bearpaw Galindo to Kootenai Health.

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