19-year-old pulled into wood chipper on first day on the job; business owner has heart attack

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GASTONIA, North Carolina — A 19-year-old man has died after he was pulled into a wood chipper on his first day on the job.

It happened in Kings Mountain, North Carolina on Saturday, December 5th.

The victim has been identified as 19-year-old Mason Cox from Gastonia, North Carolina, according to WSOC-TV.

Cox had just started working for Crawford’s Tree and Stump Grinding Service, and Saturday was his first day on the job.

Investigators said no one witnessed Cox get pulled into the wood chipper.

Jon Crawford, the owner of the business, suffered a heart attack at the scene and had to be rushed to the hospital, police told WSOC-TV.

Alice Neal has been haunted by the disturbing thought of her grandson being dragged into the wood chipper.

“How could this happen to such a vibrant, young gentleman?” Neal asked.

Officers determined the incident was accidental, and no foul play was suspected.

WSOC-TV says Cox was putting tree limbs into the wood chipper when Crawford heard the machine get bogged down. Crawford quickly hit the kill switch and put the machine in reverse, but he could not save Cox from getting pulled into the machine.

Co-workers who saw Cox’s body became emotional. They started running around, ripping off their gloves and hats.

Neighbors who did not know what had happened thought the crew was being attacked by bees.

OSHA is investigating the incident.


  • Paul

    RIP to the young man. This is the third story I have read on this tragic incident and none have ventured to say how this could have happened. Wood Chippers that I have seen are not level to the ground so I having trouble visualizing how he could have slipped feet first into one. Not being ghoulish just want to understand how a horrible thing like this happened.

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  • aunt toto

    What kind of chipper was this. Could it of been an old style fast feed chipper? Those have been ban and most insurance companies won’t even insure tree services who utilize those old chippers. They had no safety devices you pushed the branch in and had to run out of the way or you could be pulled in by the branch as it was being fed through. What a terrible tragedy for all. Iam very sorry for the families loss please pray for them.

  • A yooper

    They are dangerous machines. Some people grow up around machinery and have respect for what could happen. some don’t. I used “old style” hungry machines. We used to cut the topside of our gloves so that they would pull off if snagged on a branch. I lost 2 gloves. Cruel but how much training did the young man get? Left alone on his first day? When I started I was a “tender” dragging branches to the machine and another guy loaded them in. I watched what he was doing to get that job. It paid a quarter more an hr.

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