1 Worker Dies in Water Tower Fall, 1 Saved - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

1 Worker Dies in Water Tower Fall, 1 Saved

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Lower Providence, PA -


    A dramatic rescue Wednesday in Lower Providence Township, Montgomery County.  Firefighters saved a man dangling inside a water tower, after his co-worker fell to his death.
    The accident happened just after 11 a.m., in one of the two water towers on Featherbed Lane, owned by Audubon Water Company in Norristown.  The drama unfolded over three hours, both outside and inside the turquoise-colored tower. Three workers from a New Jersey company called Corrosion Control Corporation had been doing maintenance work inside, two of them suspended by harnesses, when something went horribly wrong.  Chief Francis Carroll of the Lower Providence Police Department told reporters, "One of them fell to the floor of the water tower, which did not have any water in it because of the maintenance operation."
    The third worker witnessed a moment he'll never forget.  "He was inside when the accident happened," Chief Carroll explained.  "He was on ground level, he saw the accident."
    The victim did not survive the fall.  The other man suspended in the harness above didn't dare move.  Fire crews quickly jumped into position outside, to save him.  They sent a giant ladder attached to a fire truck to the top of the tower, where rescue crews carefully perched, peering inside two open hatch doors. They saw the worker suspended 40 to 60 feet above the floor.  Chief Bryan McFarland of the Lower Providence Fire Co. described what crews saw.  "He was upright, sitting in a basically fall rest harness, or a work harness."
    But after what happened to his co-worker, rescue crews knew they had to get the man into another harness, as a precaution.  "A rescuer actually entered the tank suspended from the top," Chief McFarland told Fox 29.  "We lowered him down to the victim.  He transferred the victim to the primary rescue rope and we lowered him to the base safely."
    Just before 2:30, the man was brought out through an access hole at the floor of the tower, then placed on a stretcher, no doubt grateful to be back on the ground and in safe hands.  Chief McFarland put it this way:  "Rarely in this business do we see successful ends to some rescues that we do, and it's always a good thing."
    As of late Wednesday afternoon, police had not identified the worker who died, or the worker crews saved.  Fox 29 called Audubon Water Company for comment, but the company referred us to its lawyer, Michael Clement, who did not call us back.
    Fox 29 also contacted Corrosion Control Corporation in Pedricktown, New Jersey, but the company president did not call us back.
    Federal investigators from OSHA were on scene beginning an investigation Wednesday afternoon, but it's still not clear what caused the accident, or why.

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