Nick Rouskey, president, Broadcast Services Tower and Antennas, died tragically Dec. 26 when he was electrocuted while working on a cell tower in Bonita Springs, Fla. Rouskey was alone on the tower, Bonita Springs fire deputy chief Frank Giuliano said.
Rouskey, who had 20 years of experience repairing towers, was on the tower to replace a light, and was being assisted by his grandson, who was at the base.
Rescuers were dispatched to the scene at 4:40 p.m. and found him unresponsive 750 feet above the ground, according to Naples Daily News. A team of eight workers “untangled” Rouskey and lowered him to the ground. The rescue took five hours to complete.
A station engineer thought that he was changing out a beacon bulb at the time of the accident.
The guyed tower is set back behind Channel 30 Drive, along Old U.S. 41 in Bonita Springs.
The victim’s body reached ground at about 9:30 p.m., Giuliano said. Collier County rescuers were dispatched to the scene at about 4:40 p.m., joined by Bonita Springs fire responders, both county sheriff’s offices and other agencies.
A group of eight rescuers, including an Urban Search and Rescue team, worked to untangle the man and bring him down.
Officials cut power on the tower during the rescue mission for safety, having the FAA divert aircraft from the area.
They reached the technician about 7:30 p.m. Rescuers then discovered the man was dead.
“At that point it became a body recovery, as opposed to a rescue,” Giuliano said. “We slowed down and took our time.”
As they were preparing to climb the structure a sheriffs’ helicopter circled the tower and reported to rescuers that the man had been unresponsive for almost three hours.
medical examiners told family members that, according to an autopsy, Rouskey was electrocuted.
However, officials at District 21 Medical Examiner Rebecca Hamilton’s Office said they have not released findings and won’t issue a cause of death until results of lab tests are received.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation of the accidental death will not be completed until detectives receive reports from the medical examiner.
OSHA is also investigating the accident.
The 733-foot tower is owned by Super Towers Inc. of Manchester, Mass.
Rouskey, 61, lived in Cape Coral, Fla., where he and his wife, Kathleen, owned and operated Broadcast Services Tower and Antenna. He was a veteran of the Vietnam war and received a Bronze Star for his military service. He is survived by his wife, one son, Nick Rouskey; and two grandsons, Dylan and Ian; and other family members.
We grieve when these kind of events happen in our industry. The members of his family have our thoughts, prayers and condolences.