LEBANON, Ind. – A construction worker died as a storm swept through Lebanon Wednesday night.
According to the Lebanon Fire Department, 911 dispatchers received a call around 6:15 p.m. that a person had fallen at a worksite in the 900 block of Edwards Drive.
The Lebanon Police Department, Lebanon Fire Department and Boone County EMS responded to the scene. While first responders attempted to save the man’s life, he died at the scene, according to the Boone County Coroner’s Office.
The preliminary investigation determined the man was on an elevated platform while working on an industrial warehouse that was under construction.
He and other workers were in the process of stopping due to approaching thunderstorms. While the platform was being lowered, strong winds knocked it over, leading to the man’s death.
The Boone County Coroner’s Office identified the man as 29-year-old Sebastian Bartolome-Gaspar, a resident of Guatemala. The coroner ruled his death an accident and said he died as a result of blunt force trauma to his body.
“It was a standard construction lift,” said Captain Matt Young of the Lebanon Fire Department. “The subject was harnessed with fall protection onto the lift and when the lift fell, he fell along with it.”
Lebanon Fire Chief Chuck Batts said Bartolome-Gaspar was “traumatically injured on impact.” OSHA has been called to investigate.
A superintendent at the Indianapolis Automated Cold Store building told FOX59News that supervisors at the site were aware of the approach of inclement weather and were attempting to remove employees from the partially constructed building.
Lebanon firefighters estimate the wind gust that toppled the crane was in excess of 50 miles per hour.
“It was very stormy, high winds, heavy rain at the time,” said Young. “Upon our unit’s arrival, he was not trapped. Construction workers had actually moved the subject indoors out of the weather to provide aid.”
The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration will visit the construction site on Friday to investigate the incident. A spokesperson for IOSHA said state inspectors will take two-to-six months to generate their report on the accident and that the agency has no authority to issue a stop work order at the location.
A construction supervisor said that this is the first serious accident since ground was broken at the site last summer and the build should be completed by this fall.