April 2, 2014 10:25 AM EDT

A tree trimmer was in a tree Monday when a chainsaw struck him and got stuck in his neck, the Associated Press reports.

With the saw still in his neck, James Valentine, 21, was rushed to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh where he underwent emergency surgery and got 30 stitches. The saw managed to cut into muscle and missed the major arteries.

The hospital’s trauma head, Dr. Christine Toevs, commended his coworkers’ efforts during the accident, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports: “They anchored the impalement and brought it with him so he didn’t bleed profusely.”

As Valentine told KDKA from his hospital bed, “It was just a freak accident. It could happen to anybody climbing a tree.”

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Write to Olivia B. Waxman at olivia.waxman@time.com.

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