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Weather Injuries: Falling Ice Strikes Man In Face, Long Islander’s Fingers Sliced By Snowblower

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NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A day after a major snowstorm walloped the Tri-State area, the weather was being blamed for at least two gruesome injuries.

A man in Midtown was struck in the face Wednesday by a falling chunk of ice. And on Wednesday morning, an elderly Long Island man had three of his fingers sliced — one completely severed — by a snowblower, police said.

In Midtown, Onikwa Thomas was standing near the victim on West 48th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues when the man looked up and saw the ice dangling from the top of the four-story Plaza Arcade building.

“He was like, ‘They need to do something about this,’” Thomas said. “He looked back up again, and a piece just hit him right in the face.”

The chunk, which Thomas said was about the size of a basketball, split open the man’s face. He then ran into an alley lined with gold shops before collapsing.

“He was just on the ground, and he was just bleeding,” Bekim, a witness, told WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman.

The man stayed alert. An ambulance took him to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Paramedics told Silverman he should be OK.

Firefighters were seen later in the afternoon knocking ice of the building’s roof.

The freak accident left store employees inside the building feeling nervous. Not only do they have to worry about looking down at the slippery sidewalks, but they also have to worry about the falling dangers up above.

“It could have been me because I walk there all the time,” Clarence Jenkins, of Midtown, told CBS 2′s Tracee Carrasco. “It could have been me, anybody.”

Meanwhile, it was unclear how the Valley Stream man got his hand caught in the snowblower, but Dr. Roger Simpson, a hand surgeon at Nassau University Medical Center, said he and his partners saw more than a dozen snowblower-related injuries immediately after the winter storm earlier this month.

“Usually, you’ll see it while people are out there, snow is fresh and heavy, and they’re unclogging their snowblowers,” Simpson, who did not treat the Valley Stream victim, told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.

“There is a torque that will restart the engine and suck in gloves, scarves, clothing and even feet,” he added.

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