True.....very likely another avoidable accident, and so sad for the family and friends.
I worry about the possibility of falling from my stand and then dangling from the harness. Therefore, I always make certain that my buck knife is in a position where I can get to it even while hanging from the harness. I'd much rather experience a 'controlled' fall from cutting myself free then to just hang there helplessly.
I like the safety foot strap idea. That could be a blessing in such circumstances.
I suppose a "controlled" fall is better than one where you go flailing to the round, but there are problems with "controlled" falls, too. A few years ago my brother was trimming limbs from a tree in his back yard and the ladder began to slip. He threw his chainsaw away from the area directly below him and grabbed onto a limb. His grip wasn't great, and no one was home, so he looked below and saw that the ground was clear, and dropped 20 feet. (I measured it.)
As they say, the only problem is the sudden stop. Depending on how straight your legs are and how much of the impact they can absorb, all kinds of things can happen. You can break bones from your heels to your neck as the weight of your body compresses the skeletal column. Knees, hips, vertebrae... something is going to break, and it will be life-changing (assuming you live.)
But broken bones aren't the worst. Remember that all your internal organs weigh something, and will be subject to momentum. That sudden stop can tear your heart from it's soft-tissue moorings, and you'll bleed to death instantly. Same with your liver, stomach, kidneys. These organs aren't anchored well enough to resist that kind of G-force.
When my brother fell, I remember reading somewhere that in 50% of the falls from heights greater than 15 feet, the victim will die, often from massive internal hemorrhage. In my brother's case, he shattered both his heels. One was in 16 tiny pieces and the other was in six. Shattered like teacups. The first doctor who saw his X-rays told his wife that he'd never walk again. I saw him in the emergency room, and he was writhing in pain like I've never seen. Nothing they gave him could touch the pain.
Fortunately, he was surgically repaired and is walking today, doing the work of a deputy sheriff. He's a good one. In fact, he's my hero. A year before the accident he captured one of America's 10 most wanted -- literally in his own back yard. Today he has several titanium plates and screws in both heels, and wears special shoes. He's lucky to be alive. If any soft tissues had torn loose, even a little tear would have killed him.
So, lots can go wrong in a "controlled" fall, and the bottom line is that you don't have much control at all.
By the way, here's the story of the capture referenced above: Pennsylvania's Crime Fighting Deer
. I left out names because friends of the criminal were making threats against law enforcement officers. The guy himself had killed one and wounded two policemen in New York, and was threatening to "spill pig blood" all across New York and Pennsylvania. Score one for the good guys.
Anyway, bottom line is any fall can be very serious.