Shawn Treadaway told a deputy Tuesday he’d climbed the tree while looking for a dog, Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said Wednesday.
“He had a cable with him — I don’t know if it was to lead the dog with,” Edwards told The Associated Press. “He ended up falling. I guess the cable somehow got around his leg and he ended up dangling from the tree.”
The sheriff said he believes branches tore off most of Treadaway’s clothes as he fell, and rescuers then cut off the remaining rags.
He said he didn’t know why Treadaway climbed a tree to look for a dog.
“He was kind of in pretty bad medical condition from hanging upside-down so long, so he wasn’t able to elaborate on a whole lot there,” Edwards said.
He said deputies didn’t conduct a toxicology screen, and Treadaway was taken to a hospital in another county.
“We haven’t heard back on his condition yet,” Edwards said.
Treadaway’s girlfriend went looking for help, WTVA-TV reported. She found Jerry Feathers.
He said, “I was out walking my dog and just came home and a lady comes running down my brother’s drive. I was thinking my brother was in trouble so I go out there to help; after about three minutes in the woods I saw this man hanging upside down in the tree butt naked.”
New Albany Fire Chief Steve Coker told the station that the rescue wasn’t just a matter of climbing up.
“We had to cut some trees out of the way, set a ladder up and do some rope rescue rigging to secure the patient, get him extricated from the cables, and lowered down to the ground,” he said.