An experienced tree surgeon and landscape gardener was killed in a horrific accident after he tripped and fell headfirst into a wood chipper.

Local police described the chipper as an "extremely powerful" machine

Local police described the chipper as an “extremely powerful” machine

The tree surgeon was decapitated in the tragic accident after he tripped while he was working on the machine; his sons were forced to watch in helpless horror as their father was killed.

The gardener, who has not been named, was an employee of Trim-A-Tree in Arizona in the US. The wood chipper was a powerful industrial machine and it is believed the victim was standing on the chipper, using it to gain height as he pruned trees. He accidentally tripped, plunging headfirst into the dangerous mechanism and was killed.

An investigating police officer, Detective Seth Tyler, told local journalists: “It’s the type of wood chipper where the chute end actually will push the debris into the back of the truck so it can handle large branches. It’s extremely powerful.”

The police are not treating the death as suspicious. The victim’s daughter-in-law, Brenda Zapata, said: “We’re never going to see his smiling face one more time.”