Two Texas tower technicians died yesterday, after falling approximately 340 feet off of a new guyed tower they were erecting for WXXB-Texas-Tower-Tech-Fatlities102.9 FM in Indiana.
The Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Department identified the two riggers as Ernesto Garcia, 29, of Laredo, and Paul Aliss, 32, of Mesquite.
They were working at the site with an additional three crew members for Chandler, Ind.-based ERI Inc.
The accident was reported just before 9 a.m. by their coworkers and emergency crews and police responded to the scene, which is near the intersection of County Roads 600 North and 900 East by Colburn. Crews spent much of the morning investigating at the site and the bodies of the two victims were not removed until close to 11 a.m.
Emergency crews spent much of the morning investigating at the site and the bodies of the two victims were not removed until close to 11 a.m.
Authorities said they fell while they were in the process adding a section or other accessory on the 500-foot tower; however, until IOSHA investigates the exact details will not be known.
“Two members of a three-man crew on the tower had apparently been working at 340 feet when the fell, along with a piece of equipment being used to add another segment to the tower,” said the Tippecanoe County sheriff’s office.
ERI is replacing an existing 498-foot tower constructed in 2001that is located about 1,500 feet from the new structure.
The workers were removing the near-500-foot tower due to construction on the Hoosier Heartland Highway. The tower, for station WXXB, was being moved to County Road 600 North near County Road 900 East.
The county’s Board of Zoning Appeals signed off on the new tower construction last August and the work started earlier this spring, according to John Schurz, general manager of the WASK radio group that’s building the tower.
The tower site is near the intersection of County Roads 600 North and 900 East by Colburn.
Founded in 1943 to develop antennas for military aircraft, in the early 1990s ERI began designing, manufacturing and installing broadcast towers.
It is not known if the erection crew members worked for ERI or were subcontracted to install the tower.
Garcia and Aliss were the second and third tower technicians to die this year after falling from a communications structure.
As always our thoughts and prayers go out to these climbers families and coworkers.